“Eurydice” Reinvents an Old Myth

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The Ohio University School of Theater opened its first production of the 2011-2012 season on Oct. 12 with Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl’s retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus.

Directed by Dennis Lee Delaney, the show examines how humans experience love and loss, with a blurred line between life and death.

In Greek mythology, the musician Orpheus marries Apollo's daughter Eurydice, who dies on their wedding night.

Moved by love, Orpheus goes to the Underworld in order to sway the Lord of the Underworld to let his wife return to him. He plays such beautiful music that he convinces the Lord of the Underworld to let Eurydice go, so long as he does not look back at her until they have both left.

Ruhl’s version, for the most part, follows this tale, but it tells the story from the point of view of Eurydice, rather than her husband.

"It is an unusual look at this story," said Delaney. "Not only does the play follow Eurydice’s experiences in the Underworld, but it adds humor to a very tragic story. A big challenge was juggling between the grim stakes of the play with the inherent humor."

"We tried not to shy away from the tragedy," said Max Monnig, who plays Orpheus. "We didn’t try to find humor where there was none."

The story pays homage to its Greek roots, with a very poetic script and the presence of a semi-Greek chorus — creatures of the Underworld called the Stones.

The Stones, played by Colin Conrad, Briana Redmount and Anna Grossman, are former people who have been in the Underworld for so long, they are no longer human. Each have distinct personalities, but at the same time must work in unison.

The relationships between Orpheus, Eurydice (played by Emily Williams) and Eurydice’s father (played by Joel Stigliano) are key to this play. Throughout the performance, each lose and gain each other, dealing with the losses in different ways.

Eurydice uses an original score, composed especially for this production by Lee Kinney. Sound is essential to the play, and immerses the audience in the performance.

The sets and lighting, designed by C. David Russell and Molly Tiede respectively, show the stark contrast between this world and the Underworld.

The show runs Oct. 12-15 and Oct. 19-22 in Kantner Hall's Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater, with each show starting at 8 p.m. For more information, visit