'Eurydice' is a modern take on an ancient myth


PUTNEY >> In a modern take on the ancient myth of Orpheus Sarah Ruhl reinterprets the legend in her play "Eurydice," retelling the story from the heroine's point of view, a departure from the original legend. Ruhl's "Eurydice" will be presented by The Apron Theater Company and Next Stage Arts Project next week in Putney, directed by Karla Baldwin, Baldwin said she read it when it first came out in 2003 and loved it.

In "Eurydice," on the day of her wedding, nymph Eurydice is bitten by a venomous viper that takes her from her new husband Orpheus, the greatest musician in the world, into the underworld. There Eurydice is reunited with her dead father, while Orpheus journeys to retrieve his bride. But Eurydice, now reunited with her father, is fearful of returning to the living. The addition of Eurydice's father is a diversion from the original myth, perhaps as a personal way of connecting with Ruhl's own deceased father. Another difference is that Ruhl modernizes the journey of the original myth in which Orpheus is allowed to bring his wife back to the land of the living, but forbidden to turn around and look at Eurydice as they exit Hades, but must trust that she is there. Impatient upon arrival in the land of the living he turns around to see his wife too quickly before she has exited Hades, losing her forever. In Ruhl's interpretation Eurydice calls to Orpheus before she exits Hades, making him turn around, losing her forever. This modern version puts Eurydice's fate squarely in her own hands.

But the play is not all about sadness. There is also humor accompanied by great modern music composed and recorded by Mason Washer who plays Orpheus, who also happens to be a talented sound technician and musician. That is what is great about this play according to Baldwin. Ruhl fully understood the importance of sound effects, and the script was written to allow for freedom in interpretation to design sets and compose music.

The outstanding cast features Mason Amadeus as Orpheus, Madeleine Sepe as Eurydice, and Jim Maxwell who plays her father. Ruhl's three talking stones – unique to Ruhl's interpretation – played by Ian Hefele, Gay Maxwell and Avars Hemphill direct and make commentaries to the travelers about the rules of Hades

"It's a wonderful cast, wonderful designers, lighting, and sound. The play is touching, warm, sad and funny, It's all these things rolled into one," said Baldwin.

"Eurydice " will open Thursday, Aug. 11, and continues Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12, 13, all at 7:30 p.m. plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Aug. 14, then again Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 18, 19, 20, also at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, general admission, available at nextstagearts.org, by phone reservation at 802-387-0071 or at the door. $5 tickets are available for seniors for the Sunday matinee. Next Stage's newly-renovated performance space at 15 Kimball Hill is now fully accessible, with an elevator and listening assist systems. There is comfortable seating, excellent sightlines and acoustics, and air-conditioning.

The Apron Theater Company was founded by Karla Baldwin and Hallie Flower. and is Next Stage Arts Project's "theater-company- in-residence". They have wowed audiences with each production with outstanding casts, direction, sets and technical production values.

Next Stage Arts Project, winner, 2014 of a national grant from ArtPlace America is a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Putney's cultural and economic village center through the programming, development and operation of Next Stage.

Information about upcoming events, recent renovations, the capital campaign, and a wide range of opportunities for support are available at nextstagearts.org

For more information contact: Maria Basescu, Executive Director, 802-387-0102 or nextstagearts@gmail.com.

Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.


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