Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

“Eurydice” is a modern retelling of an ancient myth

Claire Wineman
Contributing Writer

We live in a time when our greatest struggle may be listening to other people, yet taking time to hear one another’s stories may be more important than ever­ — especially from voices that have long been forced to keep silent. Sarah Ruhl’s play “Eurydice,” presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance from March 1-3 in Freedlander Theatre at 7:30 p.m., provides a timely example of one of these stories, retelling the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice from the point of view of Eurydice, whose perspective has gone unsung for centuries.

In the traditional version of the myth, Eurydice dies on the day of her wedding and is sent to the Underworld to await her rescue by Orpheus.

“She’s used as a vehicle for his search, his love and for redeeming his loss,” said Jimmy Noriega, the show’s director and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “But in this story, we get to follow Eurydice and see what it means for her to rediscover who she is, learn again about life, love and her own loss.”

Rather than focusing on the relationship between Orpheus and Eurydice, Ruhl’s version largely follows Eurydice’s connection with her late father, with whom she is reunited in the Underworld. Her experiences there form an entirely new character, one unrecognizable from the Eurydices of the last 2,000 years.

“I’ve talked to several people who just assume that it’s another old Greek play, and I have to explain to them that it’s a modern retelling where Eurydice isn’t simply waiting to be rescued. It’s a play about agency, love, connection,” said Hayden Lane-Davies ’21, a member of the cast.

Noriega was also interested how “Eurydice” demonstrates art’s transcendent value. “I like that this is a story that’s more than 2,000 years old and it’s been retransformed and retold in various mediums. In every adaptation, the artists put an imprint on it, and it’s come down to us throughout the centuries because art is that powerful. The story is about what transcends time, and in this play in particular, how memory persists, and I think art offers us a way to look at that,” Noriega said.

Noriega’s production concept draws visual inspiration from the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, whose La Sagrada Familia in Spain has continued construction far beyond the artist’s death in 1926. “We use that as our central artistic metaphor about the power of art to overcome death, just as Orpheus uses his music in the play,” said Noriega. “We used Gaudí’s work and his artistry as an inspiration for the visual elements for thinking about the themes. We give it a Gaudí-esque twist that I hope the audience gets.”

“Eurydice” is George Marn ’18’s final production at Wooster. He noted, “It’s extremely important for students at the College and anyone to support the local arts, because if you won’t do it, who will? We are very lucky to be part of such a tight-knit community that you might never be in again, and fully immersing yourself is such an important part of the college experience. That means going out to shows, seeing your friends’ research presentations and really appreciating all that’s out there.”

Tickets are free for students and may be reserved in person at the Freedlander Theatre Box Office, via phone (330-263-2241) or online at

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