(CONTRIBUTED/ Quinton Cockrell)
Madeline Hill, a sophomore theater major from Alabaster, Alabama, performed as the titular Eurydice during the play’s run last weekend.
The Troy Department of Theater and Dance presented an adaptation of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice,” a modern retelling of the myth of the musician Orpheus and Eurydice, this past weekend.
The play follows the story of Eurydice, who is described as a woman of incomparable beauty, and who, on her wedding day, dies after being bit by a snake while trying to escape a lustful Satyr – a creature that is part man, part goat.
Orpheus then ventures to the underworld to bring his wife back to the land of the living.
With a relatively small cast of eight students led by Madeline Hill, a sophomore theatre major from Alabaster, as Eurydice and Jacob Brooks, a sophomore theatre major from Troy, as Orpheus, director Quinton Cockrell, an associate professor of theatre and dance, was faced with the challenge of telling an interdimensional story about love and conflict.
The actors were tasked with not only executing their characters well but also, through their performance, creating the atmosphere of what the different scene settings would be as there was no major change in stage settings to alter the atmosphere.
It was a challenge they lived up to. The set stones comically added to the idea of nothingness in death while the Lord of the Underworld, played by Christian Carlson, a senior theatre major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was perfectly executed with a performance of devilish comedy.
Madeline Hill handled the conflict within her character well, showing Eurydice’s journey from a bubbly, happy girl to one willing to break the chains of the underworld to get to her true love while being fallibly human.
During the performance, we not only saw a story of Orpheus’s love for Eurydice and hers for him, but also the fatherly love that she had missed out on and the sacrifice he makes for her in the end. In juggling with these conflicts, the play not only managed to show what someone would do for love, but also the unbearable emptiness that comes when it is missing.
In the end, Eurydice, her father and Orpheus find themselves truly dead – not because they were in the underworld, but because they were each devoid of the love they fought for the most.
Overall, while the actors executed their roles well, the stage setting could have done more to add to the interdimensional stories, better defining the land of the living and the underworld.
Understanding this modern retelling definitely requires some processing time after seeing the play as the audience might be thrown off by references to the modern world while telling the story of two classic Greek characters.
In the end, the play was about love – something that transcends death – and the lack of love that causes a sort of death. In telling that story, the play achieved its purpose of entertaining the Troy community.