The cast and crew of UNR’s production of “Eurydice” are looking forward to their second weekend after performing on April 14 and 15.
“Eurydice” is a retelling of the Orpheus myth through the perspective of Eurydice. It was written by contemporary playwright Sarah Ruhl. Directing “Eurydice” is Adriano Cabral, UNR’s Assistant Professor of Acting of Acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The original myth of Orpheus tells the story of a musician (Orpheus) who is able to enchant people with his lyre-playing. However, on his wedding day, his wife is bitten by a snake and dies. He must venture to the underworld to save her. After many misadventures, he is allowed to take her, but he is not allowed to look back as they travel. “Eurydice” follows this story, but through the lens of Orpheus’s wife, Eurydice.
“I’m all about female representation in theatre,” Cabral said. “Get a female playwright taking the female side…and I am all about it.”
Preparation began in February. Riley McKinney plays the part of Eurydice, Matthew Denny plays her father and Thomas Chubb plays Orpheus.
“It’s important to have new takes on these classic myths because these shows are still relevant in today’s society,” said Denny, a resident assistant on campus and a junior studying Secondary Education with an emphasis in theatre, English and ESL. “A good quote that I use to describe this is from Constantin Stanislavski who says, ‘Spectators come to the theatre to hear the subtext. They can read the text at home.’ The Theatre is a place of storytelling, with these new aspects and perspectives, we are able to see so much more about these myths. This allows us to gain a better understanding of a myth we think we know.”
Amari Callaway designed the costumes. There is no specific time period to the play so the costumes are used to highlight character traits.
“My favorite part is getting to see all the costumes that I spent months imagining in my head come together and have the actors bring them to life on stage,” said Callaway, a graduating senior receiving a bachelor’s degree in theatre with a minor in studio art.
Schyler Delano is the stage manager. Jonathon Taylor is the scenic designer. Ruhl specifies that the underworld should not look like hell, it should look like Alice in Wonderland. This adds a fantastical element to the set, adding to the overall magical realism of the play.
“Magical realism is a sense of heightened realism,” Cabral said. “For magical realism, the logic of the environment shifts. There’s opportunity for the unexpected to happen.”
The play is performed with thrust staging, a theatrical technique with the audience on three sides of the stage.
“Depending where you sit you’re going to get a different story, which is one of the things that draws me to a thrust stage,” Cabral said. “If you come on a different night and sit in a different spot, you’re going to connect to a different element of the story.”
Although it is based on an ancient Greek myth, it still has the power to resonate with audiences today.
“This play is a battle for Eurydice about choosing the family she has in the underworld or the family she has in the upper world,” Cabral said. “That really drew me in, especially for college student audiences. How do you balance the family life you were brought up in for 18 years and the new life you are trying to create for yourself?”
The only people more excited than the director is the cast.
“I hope the audience feels free to laugh and cry and just be available to the story,” said Chubb a freshman theatre major. “It’s beautifully written and the cast and crew are wonderful people to work with. I hope we can convey all of our hard work to each member of the audience and they will love this show as we have loved it for the past few months.”
Don’t worry, there is still a chance to see “Eurydice.” It is showing at the Redfield Studio Theatre in the Church Fine Arts Building on April 19-22 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. A limited amount of $5 tickets are available to students. at the Lawlor Events Center box office.