“How do you say goodbye to yourself?” Eurydice wonders as she arrives in the underworld — stepping out of an elevator where it’s raining …
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“How do you say goodbye to yourself?” Eurydice wonders as she
arrives in the underworld — stepping out of an elevator where it’s
raining inside. She can’t understand the language, has trouble
recalling her beloved’s face and is generally disoriented.
Director Chip Walton introduced Curious Theatre’s poetic,
charming “Eurydice” by commenting that “Curious is a group of
designers at the start.” Combine that ability to surround an
audience with eye and ear appeal and Sarah Ruhl’s imaginative spin
on the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and magic happens.
Walton called on Ballet Nouveau choreographer Garrett Ammon to
work with the actors throughout the performance, so while they’re
not actually dancing, they move with unusual grace, almost floating
This is a luminous world of love, loss, blue skies, floating
umbrellas, flowing water, stark white trees and characters that
move like dancers. Earthworms deliver the mail and a Greek chorus
of graceful moving, talking stones intersperses thoughts and
instructions as they dip and pour buckets of water into the river.
The rhythm of the water sound is musical and fresh.
For centuries, this story has been retold in art, music, drama,
dance and opera the world over. Eurydice dies on the day of her
marriage to the young musician Orpheus and he strikes a deal to
bring her back from the dead — but he must not look back at her as
he leads her out.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl tells it from the
standpoint of the young woman, played by skilled actress Karen
Slack. She is very much in love with Orpheus, although missing the
other important man in her life, her late father. The couple is
canoodling on a beach as lights go up.
Tyee Tighman is the musical Orpheus, who tells Eurydice he has
written a song for her today, but he needs 12 instruments. “You
will be my orchestra and I love you,” he continues, tying a piece
of string on her ring finger.
When they marry, Eurydice’s father (Jim Hunt) is silhouetted
behind blue silk, dancing alone at his beloved daughter’s wedding.
He has been trying to send her letters via earthworm, and the
character described as a Nasty Interesting Man/Child (Mark Pergola)
manages to intercept one and lure the bride to his apartment to see
She falls to her death from his high rise when he accosts her,
and arrives in the underworld, where this character reappears as
Lord of the Underworld as she is trying to adjust. He almost seems
to have stepped out of Alice’s Wonderland, a large man costumed in
undersized child’s clothing.
Eurydice doesn’t recognize her father and thinks he’s the hotel
porter, ready to show her to her room.
The magic continues as he builds her a room with string as the
stones object: “Dead people should be seen and not heard. Take the
Meanwhile, a distraught Orpheus is trying to send letters and
eventually steps out of the raining elevator, making a deal to
rescue his wife. The tragic end of the story follows true to form.
(A rereading of the myth reminds one of many details that Ruhl has
included in her own way.
Production values add greatly to the show: Michael Duran’s set,
Shannon McKinney’s expert lighting and Brian Freeland’s background
sound frame characters in Janice Lacek’s costumes.
This production is a don’t- miss-it wonder.
“Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl plays through April 18 at Curious
Theatre, 1080 Acoma St., Denver. Performances: 8 p.m. Thursdays,
Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $34, Thursdays to
Saturdays; $27 Sundays. Two for one on Thursdays. 303-623-0524,
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