Eurydice: A Modern Take on the Classic Story of Orpheus

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By Daisy Chen, Staff Writer

“Take a pamphlet and a rock.” — Wait. A rock?

I walked into an already almost full auditorium. The impressive array of props on stage included a wall of blue one gallon water jugs and a half-cut car.

Eurydice is a modernized version of an original Greek mythology. The play starts out introducing the two main characters, Eurydice and Orpheus, who fall in love and get married. Soon thereafter, Eurydice dies and goes to the underworld, where she reunites with her mother. Meanwhile, Orpheus mourns her death by playing sad music and writing her letters he hopes will reach her. Orpheus does end up traveling to the underworld to rescue Eurydice, but unlike in the original myth, this Eurydice is the one who causes Orpheus to look back, making futile his attempts to rescue her. In this version, Eurydice lost all her memories and Orpheus became a stranger to her, so she thought it best to not follow him back.

In the original mythology, as Orpheus and Eurydice reach the gates of hell, a suspicious Orpheus turns around to see if it was actually Eurydice following him. He fears that Hades, lord of the underworld, had deceived him by sending someone else.

Unlike most plays, this production of Euridice was, to some degree, interactive and full of surprises. The rock given to each audience member at the door entered turned out to be a ticket to the underworld, though it turned into something of a distraction as several people dropped their stone throughout the course of the play. The most surprising moment was the loud stomp that echoed through the auditorium when a light shined on Orpheus as he literally climbed down to the underworld from our seats on the bleachers with a rope. When they asked us to keep the aisles clear because the actors would be running through, this was the last thing I expected.

On the other hand, the entering of the Stones and Hades in a floater that says “sticks and stones” was quite humorous. The Stones spoke directly to the audience at one point, each in a different language, which was very interactive and drew our attention. Hades also made quite the entrance with music and some pick-up lines for Eurydice.

To me, the most interesting and creative aspect of the production was that all the props on the stage was unexpectedly resourceful. I was most captivated by the wall of water jugs. They used it to transfer the letters between Orpheus and Eurydice, but it was also the door to the underworld.

I did not expect this level of detail and sophistication in the design of the set. Even the water dispenser served a bigger purpose than I had originally thought: from using it in the beginning of the play as a setting for Eurydice to drink water, to letting water flow out to create a small pond for sound effects and place setting.

Although this modern adaptation has the same tragic end as the original tale, this version continues the story as Eurydice and her mother re-dip themselves in the river, putting them both into deep sleep just as Orpheus comes down to the underworld yet again to find his wife, only to suddenly forget all his memories.

Lights out.

I was disappointed that Eurydice and Orpheus did not get the happy ending I had hoped they would, but a tragic ending to a love story captured the beauty of the traditional legend.

I’m no critic, but for me Eurydice was worth watching. Besides, admission was free.

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