By Crystal Smith
On Tuesday night, the “curtains” rose on “Eurydice,” the winter production run by the Theatre Department. A wonderful ensemble of seven actors brought to life Sara Ruhl’s story of “Orpheus,” from the point of view of his wife, Eurydice. The cast includes Katie Rose Reardon, Andrew Scoggin, Jamil Joseph, Rebecca Roeber, Luis Angel Feliciano, Ayuana Rosario, and Nicholas Kwietniak.
“Eurydice” is showing from now until February 28 at 8:00 PM and then again for the final show on March 1 at 2:00 PM. All showings will be held in the Smith-McFarland Theatre.
“The play took four weeks to produce and we had 40 people try out. Out of those 40, only seven were casted,” said Professor Susan O’Hearn, Director of the production.
She continued, “It was a pure pleasure to work with this cast and crew.”
The seats were filled with buzzing students before the lights dimmed. The set was a mix of dark and light blue mixed with gray colors. There was a platform with sliding doors that hid away secret passageways for the actors.
As the play started, Eurydice (Reardon) and her newly wed husband, Orpheus (Joseph), were getting ready to start their life together, but not before Eurydice fell victim to a conniving and treacherous man (Kwietniak) who tried to serenade her with a letter he found from her dead father (Scoggin).
With hopes of reading the letter, Eurydice went with the man to his home. In an attempt to regain the letter from his clutches, she fell to her death and was reunited with her father in the Land of the Dead.
Three stones greeted her: Big Stone (Feliciano), Loud Stone (Roeber), and Little Stone (Rosario). The stones explain to her how the Land of the Dead operates and how the words she knew up above do not make sense there.
During the time she is reunited with her father, her still living husband tried to cope with the death of his beloved bride before he decided to bring her back.
Orpheus journeyed to save her, but soon Eurydice had begun to discover that the cost of living again could sometimes exceed the cost of staying dead.
The play is filled with dark humor, lyrical beauty, and quick wit.
“The play itself is highly memorable because everyone can relate to the child and parent relationship or losing a loved one and coping with the passage of dying,” said O’Hearn.
Even with only seven actors, each one was able to embody his or her character and utilize their talents to the fullest. Reardon and Scoggin are able to portray a realistic father and daughter relationship, which can be difficult, considering the proximity in actual age. The audience could feel their onstage bond during intense moments.
With both funny and heartbreaking moments, the relationship between Reardon and Joseph was also believable. The comical relief of Feliciano, Roeber, and Rosario was an excellent mediator with the tragic circumstances of the play. They were able to incorporate modern dance moves and attitude that were familiar to the audience, which helped the play to run smoothly.
Another comic relief came from Kwietniak, as he not only played the part of the treacherous man, but also the part of the Lord of the Underworld. He transitioned between suave playboy to the magnetic, childlike Lord of the Underworld with ease, even while walking on stilts.
The dramatic and special effects were simple, yet gave the story dimension and depth. The cast exercised their ability to use every part of the Smith-McFarland Theatre to their utmost advantage. This allowed the audience to look elsewhere, other than a stage, for the hour-long play.
The lighting was also on cue, even when the audience members found themselves looking at three or four different places. The selection of modern music, such as Christina Perri’s famous wedding ballad “A Thousand Years,” helped the audience familiarize with the play.
Even with the unpredictable weather, gastrointestinal viruses running rampant, and late night hospital visits the night before opening night, the cast and crew were able to pull off an incredible show.
“The cast worked their butts off with all the snow days and the gastroenteritis virus going around campus,” said O’Hearn.
The box office opens an hour before the curtain rises. General admission is $12, faculty, staff, and senior citizens are $10, ESU students with their Ecards are $7, and youth are $5.
O’Hearn concluded, “I want students to know there is vigorously hardworking theater production right up the street from them. This show is under an hour and it’s not expensive, so bring a date because this place isn’t too shabby; I want them to hear the buzz and catch the fever.”
Go catch that theatre buzz and fever.
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