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LAB! Theatre transforms ancient myth of Eurydice

The LAB Euridyce production puts on a rehearsal on the night of October the 10th, practicing for their upcoming opening night.

In “Eurydice,” Orpheus travels through hell and back for his bride.

The LAB! Theatre is putting a quirky spin on the ancient myth, transforming it into a tale of the power of love and memory.

Nathaniel Claridad, director for the show, said he is eagerly awaiting tonight’s premiere to see the audience’s reaction to Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice.”

“I promise it is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” he said. “Those who love it will really love it.”

The classic Greek myth tells the tale of young lovers Orpheus and Eurydice.

After Eurydice, a nymph, tragically dies, Orpheus ventures to the underworld to retrieve her. Hades tells Orpheus that he must never look back to make sure Eurydice is following, or she will be trapped in the underworld forever.

Ruhl’s play, which premiered in 2003, takes the bare bones of the classic tale and gives it a modern twist, Claridad said.

“It’s not very commercial,” he said. “It’s a little art-indie show.”

Claridad said this rendition focuses more on the relationship between Eurydice and her father, who is also in the underworld.

Junior Allen Tedder, who plays Orpheus in LAB!’s production, said the role is larger than he could have imagined.

“I’m just a vessel. This play is bigger than me,” Tedder said. “It’s a Greek tragedy — It destroys worlds.”

Orpheus’ counterpart, Eurydice, is played by Sophomore Abigail Coryell, who said she was originally terrified of the freedom her character allows.

“It’s like a loose skin to crawl into and make your own,” Coryell said.

“I didn’t know which way was right.”

Coryell said she characterizes Eurydice using personal experiences and visualization exercises.

“The underworld isn’t like hell,” Coryell said. “It’s more like ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ I was painting it with my mind to create something.”

Claridad said he feels that the piece is out of this time — complete with lines like “We’ve known each other for centuries.”

“You wouldn’t just say that to someone at Wal-Mart,” Cordell said.

Claridad said the elevated language and the elaborate stage attempt to take the underworld to a place that is both nostalgic and new.

Set to a bluegrass soundtrack, the show is very quirky, Claridad said.

He said he first became interested in directing an undergraduate show after last year’s PlayMakers Repertory Company production of “8.”

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“I saw talent in ‘8,’” he said. “I wanted to unearth it and see what was there.”

Claridad said “Eurydice” was a great choice for an undergraduate play because it has a prominent water theme, which sticks close to this year’s pan-campus theme of “Water in Our World.”

“It’s no longer an undergraduate show — it’s a show,” he said.

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