Sarah Ruhl’s Contemporary Retelling of ‘Eurydice’ Gets Staging at PS21

Eurydice(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century and Walking the dog Theater open their fifteen-performance run of Sarah Ruhl’s poetic and witty Eurydice on Thursday, July 7, running through the end of July. This contemporary retelling of the classic Greek myth presents a fresh look at the universality of life’s inevitabilities, both tragic and comic. A winner of a MacArthur “Genius” grant and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, 38-year old playwright Ruhl is among the most accomplished contemporary American playwrights. Her Eurydice was a hit off-Broadway in 2007 and has been performed elsewhere to great acclaim.

In one of the most enduring classic Greek myths, Orpheus, an incomparable musician and poet, is distraught when his new wife, Eurydice, dies. Subsequently she is taken to the underworld and, heartbroken, Orpheus follows, hopeful that his talents and pleas will convince Hades to allow Eurydice to return with him. Eventually Hades agrees, under the condition that Orpheus not look at Eurydice until they are out of the underworld.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl

Playwright Sarah Ruhl

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice have inspired countless versions of the story in books, operas, plays, poetry, movies and a ballet. Ruhl’s retelling shifts the point of view from Orpheus to Eurydice, from the male perspective to the female, from the one left living after a loved one has died, to being the one who has to choose whether to re-enter the world of the living or stay with those who have died.

“This play will be unlike anything we have done before,” said director David Anderson. Ruhl takes the audience on a gripping trip to an underworld filled with surreal imagery: stones that talk, rooms made of string, and an elevator that rains. Plot twists, and vivid visuals add to this funny and heartbreaking tale.”It is a somewhat magical world traversing two realms – the earthly and the underworld.”

A play that centers around Orpheus and Eurydice would not be complete without music. “Music will play a more significant role in this piece than in any piece we have done before,” said Anderson. “And I cannot think of a composer better suited or more able to create the music for this piece than Jonathan Talbott. Jonathan has been composing music for this play for months. Our plan is to include the musicians as members of the ensemble, to work closely with them so as to build up a very cohesive connection.”

Shows begin at 8 under The Tent at PS21, located at 2980 Route 66 in Chatham, N.Y.

Eurydice runs July 7-31. Preview nights are July 7, 9, and 10 when all tickets are $20. Talkback nights, when the actors and the production team will answer questions and be available for feedback or conversation directly after the show, will be Thursday evenings. Tickets for all nights other than previewa are July 13-17, 21-24, 28- 31, are $25 members, $30 non-members, $18 students. All shows begin at 8.



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