The Rochester premiere of Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl's retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus, opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, in Todd Theatre on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The play, which is being presented by the University's International Theatre Program, is a beautiful exploration of love, memory, and mortality and illustrates the power of human relationships. It runs at 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, and 16, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Dec. 10.
An innovative, award-winning playwright, Ruhl turns the ancient story of the musician's attempt to bring back his wife from the underworld into a modern-day fairy tale. Told from the perspective of the young and naive Eurydice, Ruhl's work imbues the legend with a contemporary freshness and gives the girl's father a major role. The production utilizes the musical skills of its multi-talented actors, who sing and play a variety of instruments to create an engaging, emotionally-charged atmosphere. The synergy between the music and dialogue also heightens the dynamics between wife and husband and between daughter and father.
Currently in performance in several theaters across the country, Eurydice "is a hot show right now," says Sean Daniels, the play's director. "A recent professional production is getting ready to move to New York City, and bringing it to the campus places the University of Rochester International Theatre Program on the cutting edge of contemporary American work in theatre."
Daniels is in his third season as the associate artistic director and resident director of the California Shakespeare Theatre (CST). He is also an associate artist of Rochester's Geva Theatre Center. His CST production of Nicholas Nickleby was named one of the "Top Ten of 2005" by San Francisco-area newspapers and he has been recognized as "one of the top 15 up-and-coming artists in the United States" by American Theatre Magazine. Set designer for Eurydice is Daniel Meeker, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Ithaca College. Costume designer Jessica Ford has designed for stage and film and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama. The production's lighting designer, Ben Stanton, has worked prolifically off-Broadway and with The Juilliard School on works such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Crucible. The original music for the production was composed by David Hanbury, who received a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep Consortium.
Ruhl was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 and received the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, given to women for theater works of outstanding quality, in 2004. In September, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant." Ruhl's work has been performed internationally as well as on various renowned American stages including The Goodman Theatre in Chicago and Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California.
Tickets for Eurydice are $10 for the general public, $6 for University of Rochester students, and $8 for senior citizens and University of Rochester faculty, staff, and alumni. They can be reserved online at www.rochester.edu/theatre or by calling the box office at (585) 275-4088. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, one hour before the performance.