Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eurydice by Sara Ruhl, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, St. Edward's University, February 3 - 13

Eurydice MMNT Austin Texas

In Sarah Ruhl's world, stones can talk, the dead can send letters to the living, and the devil connives to send a fragile bride to her death so he can court her in the afterlife. On the far side of the river of forgetting, memory fades and the ability to read disappears. Young Orpheus, bereft in this life, telephones a long-distance information operator in an effort to try to locate his dead wife.

Despite the striking mythic beauty of its concepts, Ruhl's Eurydice made me profoundly uneasy last year when Different Stages did it at the City Theatre. Perhaps because the shade of Eurydice's father clings to his memories and continues to dream of her, despite the emptiness and unchanging nature of life after death.

Cassidy Schiltz (image: Mary Moody Northen Theatre via Austin Statesman)

Ruhl has a frank and direct consciousness of the all too transitory nature of this existence. She wraps that message in the reworking of the Greek fable of the musician Orpheus who braved the underworld and came close -- just that close -- to bringing his bride Eurydice back.

Jamie Goodwin as the quietly grieving dead father has depth, dignity and stature, in contrast to the simplicity of Nathan Brockett and Cassidy Schiltz as the eternally naive lovers.

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