Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Different Stages at the City Theatre, January 8 - 30

Sarah Ruhl's version of the Eurydice myth begins as a fable. Nicole Swahn, the childishly enthusiastic and simple-minded Eurydice, frolics at the beach with Bastion Carboni as her beau, the music geek Orpheus. They're on their way to an unreflecting storybook wedding. Little matter that she has no comprehension of the music in his head and apparently no head for her own history.

In part, because she's not getting the mail. We learn that Eurydice's father, a deceased man without a name, has been writing letters to her from the underworld. A bit of a simple dreamer himself, he has somehow proven resistant to the anesthetic properties of the River Lethe. Dad remembers her; he remembers and enacts his dreams of squiring her to her wedding. He even remembers how to read and to write, aptitudes that are supposed to drop away in the shades. His epistles, trusted to the worms for delivery, are regularly intercepted by a smirking, swaggering Marc Balester.

This is an imaginative turn on the ancient myth. By tradition, Orpheus with his musical gift is the protagonist of the story, charming his way into the afterlife and almost retrieving his wife. Ruhl's reformulation is a curious mash-up of myth, coming-of-age fable and naive Christian tale-telling. Concentrating on the father-daughter relation, she is exploring the persistence of memory and of human attachment in the face of death.

Read more and view performance images at . . . .

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