Chances are, if you have a base knowledge of Greek mythology, you’ve probably heard the story of Orpheus and Eurydice before.
In this well-known legend, Orpheus and Eurydice are a madly-in-love couple about to be wed until Eurydice is killed. Consumed by grief, Orpheus journeys to the underworld and is able to reunite with Eurydice, under the condition that he won’t look back at her as they leave. However, he does exactly that, separating them forever.
Most retellings of the story go like this with a focus placed on Orpheus’ perspective. However, starting Saturday, those looking for a new outlook on the age-old story can find one in LAB! Theatre’s production of "Eurydice."
The play, written by Sarah Ruhl, tells the story from the perspective of Eurydice. Specifically, it focuses on her decision to return to Earth with Orpheus or remain in the underworld, where she is with her father.
Jack Turner, who plays Orpheus, said the production aims to emphasize the female voice with this rendition of the play.
“It was very much the desire to give Eurydice more of a voice, to see the men from her perspective and to give the female voice a much more equal and much richer part," Turner said. "Instead of being solely about Orpheus and his trials, we get a chance to see how painful this was for Eurydice.”
Director Caroline Robinson said it was important to her to tell a story from a woman’s perspective, especially considering the typical conventions of myths.
“With so many of them, women are just the pawns here and there,” Robinson said.
Robinson first read "Eurydice" when she was assigned a scene from it during a directing class last semester. In order to prepare, she read the entire play and found herself drawn to Ruhl’s style — particularly the way she dealt with themes of love, loss and time. She was also interested in the ambiguity of the play.
“The show is known for everything you can do with the technical aspects," Robinson said. "You can take it so many different ways.”
When it came time for Robinson to direct the play, she took advantage of this ambiguity, adding yet another unique element to the story — movement.
Throughout the production, Robinson has worked in tandem with movement collaborator Meredith Edmonds on choreography for the play. During rehearsals, they go through each scene together, with Edmonds creating “base choreography,” which they then tweak together to fit the story.
This addition has created a unique challenge for the cast, many of whom had never had any formal dance training. Both the cast members and Robinson said, though, that this learning process is worthwhile, as the movement sequences serve a purpose in telling the story.
“I didn’t want to just add movement to add it,” Robinson said. “I wanted it to fabricate the script even more, to take things from the script, little gems here and there and expand upon them with the movement and create a lot of images.”
With stylistic choices such as this one, the cast and crew hope to create a production with both a specific voice and a broad appeal.
Caroline Greelish, who plays Eurydice, thinks that people will especially enjoy getting to watch the story through the eyes of such a complex character.
“It’s really interesting because you get to see her whole journey,” Greelish said. “I think there’s different parts of it that everyone can relate to.”
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