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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Eurydice

Also see Susan's review of The Dog in the Manger and Pluck: The Titanic Show

Eurydice
Jenna Sokolowski and Adriano Gatto
Playwright Sarah Ruhl has a poetic way with words, but perhaps her style works better conveying magical realism—with the emphasis on realism—than the pure fantasy of Eurydice, now at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland. Where her plays The Clean House and Dead Man's Cell Phone soar while keeping one foot in the everyday, this one drags through its 90-minute length, ultimately more soporific than inspiring.

Ruhl has reinterpreted the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a way that may not have occurred to anyone before: to tell it from the heroine's viewpoint. The story traditionally focuses on the efforts of the musician Orpheus to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the land of the dead, but the greater journey is hers.

In this retelling, directed fluidly if with little nuance by Derek Goldman, Orpheus (Adriano Gatto) and Eurydice (Jenna Sokolowski) are a contemporary couple, he a dreamer whose love of music drowns out most commonplace concerns, she more grounded. Her death, immediately following their wedding, is not an accident as in the myth; rather, it's brought about by a manipulative figure called the Nasty Interesting Man (Mitchell Hébert), who reappears as the overgrown spoiled child who runs the underworld.

Eurydice's experiences in the realm of the dead are more interesting, specifically the growing interplay between her and her dead father (Harry A. Winter). Ruhl includes her version of a Greek chorus in these scenes—three personifications of stones described as Big Stone (KenYatta Rogers), Little Stone (Linden Taylor), and Loud Stone (Susan Lynskey)—but the cleverness of the conceit soon becomes tiresome.

Clint Ramos' scenic design effortlessly shifts between the worlds of the living and the dead, with towers built of scaffolding and, most intriguingly, an industrial elevator inside which rain falls constantly.  A stream bisects the stage floor, serving both as a place of earthly beauty and an unearthly river of forgetfulness. Kathleen Geldard's costumes play up the fantastic nature of the afterlife, with the stones in bright, mismatched outfits that make them resemble rag dolls and the malevolent Lord of the Underworld in a velvet suit with short pants.

Round House Theatre
Eurydice
February 4th – March 1st
By Sarah Ruhl
Eurydice: Jenna Sokolowski
Her Father: Harry A. Winter
Orpheus: Adriana Gatto
Nasty Interesting Man/Lord of the Underworld: Mitchell Hébert
Big Stone: KenYatta Rogers
Little Stone: Linden Tailor
Loud Stone: Susan Lynskey
Directed by Derek Goldman
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-644-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


Photo: Danisha Crosby


-- Susan Berlin


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



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