Eurydice (Ruhl play)
Eurydice is a play by Sarah Ruhl which retells the myth of Orpheus from the perspective of Eurydice, his wife. The story focuses on Eurydice's choice to return to earth with Orpheus or to stay in Hades with her father (a character created by Ruhl). Ruhl made several changes to the original myth's story-line. The most noticeable of these changes was that in the myth Orpheus succumbs to his desires and looks back at Eurydice, while in Ruhl's version Eurydice calls out to Orpheus (causing him to look back) perhaps in part because of her fear of reentering the world of the living and perhaps as a result of her desire to remain in the land of the dead with her father. Ruhl's script has been explicitly written so as to be a playground for the designer of the sets.
The play had its world premiere at Madison Repertory Theatre in 2003 and its New York premiere off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre June 18–August 26, 2007. It has since been staged at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2004, at Yale Repertory Theatre, at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, March–April 2008, at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, May 2008 (with original live music by Toby Twining), at ACT Theatre in Seattle, September–October 2008, in London at the Young Vic Theatre in May 2010., in the Little Theater of the University of California, Irvine, as an honors workshop by an undergraduate director, in November 2011; at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in April, 2011; at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2012, at the University of Victoria's Phoenix Theatre in 2012, at Ouachita Baptist University's Verser Theatre in 2012, and in Theatre Ink's 2010-2011 season; by the Custom Made Theatre Co in San Francisco in 2013; by Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theatre in March/April, 2013; at the University of Southern Mississippi by an undergraduate director in April 2013, at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre in May/June 2013, and at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013.
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The play begins with Eurydice and Orpheus, two young lovers, who are about to get married. During their wedding, Eurydice goes outside to get a drink of water and she meets a man who claims to have a letter from her father. Eurydice decides to go to his apartment to retrieve the letter, but as she leaves down the stairs she trips and dies. She enters the Underworld, where she meets her father, who tries to reteach Eurydice about her past since she has lost her memory. Towards the end of the play, Orpheus arrives to save her and Eurydice is faced with the decision to either stay with her father or go back with her husband. The lord of the underworld allows Eurydice to follow her husband back to the land of the living as long as Orpheus does not turn around to see her. She decided to make the journey back to Earth with her husband but on the journey yells for Orpheus and causes him to look back to her.
- eurydice madstage.com, accessed July 14, 2009
- Hernandez, Ernio."Sarah Ruhl's eurydice Opens Off-Broadway June 18," playbill.com, June 18, 2007
- Hetrick, Adam. "Ruhl's Eurydice Descends Upon Atlanta's Alliance March 14," playbill.com, March 14, 2008
- Barrymore Winners in Philly playbill.com, October 6, 2008
- Hetrick, Adam. Eurydice to Descend at Seattle's A.C.T. Beginning Sept. 5," playbill.com, August 27, 2008