The stage was set. Music played in the background as attendees excitedly took their seats. The lights dimmed and the show began.
On March 31, 2022 I had the pleasure to go see Eurydice performed by Sewanee Theater Company. Prior to seeing the performance, I was already familiar with the myth Eurydice is based on. In the original myth, Eurydice kills herself by stepping on a snake in an effort to evade a suitor harassing her. In this new version, a suitor lures Eurydice away from her wedding, tantalizing her with the prospect of a letter from her deceased father, and when Orpheus comes to find her, she falls and dies trying to get to him.
In both plays, Eurydice dies and Orpheus enters the Underworld to try and find her. Orpheus, who is a musician, plays such sorrowful, beautiful music that Hades agrees to release her, but on the condition that Orpheus not look at her until he is out of the underworld. However, Orpheus can’t manage to refrain from looking at her, and turns just before they reach the surface, and Eurydice vanishes.
The biggest difference in the play adaptation is the focus on Eurydice. In the original myth, most of the attention was paid to the plight of Orpheus in his quest to get his love back, yet in the play, we spend much more time with Eurydice, her relationship with her father, and her emotions surrounding her own death.
The attention to Eurydice makes sense, as she is the title character of the play, and allows the viewers, some of which might have had prior knowledge of the story, to gather another perspective. Watching Eurydice cry with agony and confusion as she loses Orpheus once again, and weep on her father’s shoulder when she realizes she’s all alone, is heart wrenching and is portrayed beautifully.
The actors who portrayed Eurydice and Orpheus (Kate Grayson (C ’25) and Brooklyn Taylor (C’ 25)) had amazing chemistry on stage, portraying the tragic lovers. In the first scene, before the tragedy strikes, Eurydice and Orpheus are playing on the beach, and Taylor and Adasme perfectly present the beauty of young love.
The relatively small cast, only seven performers, have electric chemistry throughout the entire show, and Gabriella Adasme (C’22) plays the villain of the story with fascinating, humorous intrigue. Eurydice’s father (portrayed by Patrick Eikenhorst (C’25)) shows his love for his daughter and dedication to her with palpable emotion that brings you close to tears. The three stones, little stone, large stone, and loud stone, (portrayed by Mary Bullard (C’23), Colin Rice (C’24), and Kenzie Donald (C’25)) are comedic relief throughout the show, yet still take serious tones in some parts of the play. They advise Orpheus and Eurydice, and reiterate the rules of the Underworld throughout the play.
The stage is simple, but has beautiful sets and focuses on the aesthetics of the background setting the mood for the story. The biggest use of aesthetics in the play is the music. Before the show even begins, music prepares the attendees for the story they are about to see. Music plays throughout the play, and the first five minutes are completely silent except for the music. The music is light and happy at first, and darkens as the dramatics of the play continue to deepen. In the same way that Orpheus’s music acts as thematic backdrop for his love and dedication to Eurydice, the music in Eurydice acts as a thematic backdrop for the show itself.
In conclusion, Eurydice was a lovely play with a beautiful story, with wonderful actors who portray the tragic Greek myth with attention and dedication.