‘Eurydice’ theater production by Sarah Ruhl


Sarah Jensen as Eurydice in “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl onstage in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Studio Theatre through April 2, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Gerry Goldstein)

Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of “Eurydice,” by Sarah Ruhl, frames a stand-alone narrative heightened by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to express a story of grief, happiness and memory.

The Orpheus and Eurydice myth is a tragic love story that has been adapted into opera, songs and plays since the time of ancient Greece. Orpheus is a legendary and larger than life musician with talent honed from training received from the Greek god Apollo. He falls in love with a wood nymph named Eurydice, who is enamored by his skill. Eurydice dies and Orpheus is given the opportunity to save her from death by leading her out of the underworld, but must do so without ever looking at her while doing so.

Over the centuries the myth has taken on many forms and adaptations, Ruhl’s play among them. In this play Orpheus (Zack Dictakis) and Eurydice (Sarah Elizabeth Jensen) are in the throes of young love which subsequently leads to an engagement and a wedding. On her wedding night Eurydice dies and the tragic story begins to take shape.

Dramaturg Emma Mathieu says, “The tale of Orpheus and Eurydice raises questions about what we will do for love and how far we are willing to go for it.”

What is impressive about the production is the way that all of the technical and performative elements blend together to present love and grief as living and breathing forces of nature on the stage. Orpheus hears music in everything. It is an all-encompassing experience for the musician, who hears music in name of his love, to the sound of a creaky well pump, a quality that makes him the legend he is in mythology.

Director Helene Kvale, assistant professor of performance and founding artistic director of Bated Breath Theatre Company says, “If Eurydice is water, Orpheus is air”

In this respect, one does not need knowledge of the myth itself to reflect and receive the story on stage.

“In the myth, there is no father character, but in her play, we see the addition of Eurydice’s father. This unique add creates a new level of emotional attachment since it is one more choice Eurydice has to make, but also since Ruhl had just lost her father before writing the play,” said sixth semester theatre studies major, Jason Swift. 

All in all the actors and creatives of CRT’s “Eurydice” brought to the stage a production that did well to preserve and enshrine the enormity of the mythology while also presenting the human narrative of Ruhl’s characters that anyone who has experienced loss can relate to.

“Eurydice” is running now through April 2 at the Studio Theatre, located in the Drama Music building at the University of Connecticut Storrs Campus. Tickets range from $7 to $36. All student tickets are $7. For ticket reservations or more information, call the CRT box office at 860-486-2113 or visit crt.uconn.edu.

Matthew Gilbert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.gilbert@uconn.edu.

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