Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Chicago

Artistic Home Theatre
Review by Ruth Smerling

Javier Carmona and Karla Carona
Photo by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux
A playwright knows they have talent when they dare to mess with an iconic Greek tragedy. Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice has won many awards and critical acclaim and even inspired an opera. She tweaked the time-honored story of Orpheus and Eurydice to retell it from Eurydice's point of view with a plethora of sensory excitement. Performed at Artistic Home Theatre with a sparse set, yet filled with earthy sounds, illusions, and constant movement, this Eurydice is a journey into the troubled mind and heart of someone who must make a difficult choice.

Eurydice (Karla Carona) is in love with Orpheus (Steven Cooper). She feels safe with him and they are to be married, but they are not always in sync. Orpheus is a musician and poet. He writes songs and hears music that she does not hear. She is wracked with doubt and unsure if they are really communicating. She encounters the A Nasty Interesting Man (Todd Wojcik), who tells her that he has a letter for from her deceased father. The letter is what he would have said at her wedding had he survived to attend. Surprised and horrified, she has an accident that causes her untimely death. She must decide whether she wants to stay with Orpheus or be with her father (Javier Carmona). She quickly learns that death is even more complicated than life. Once in the underworld, a person is dipped in the river and all memory is erased. Their human existence is void.

Does that sound logical? Well no, of course not. Director Kathy Scambiatterra has risen to the challenge, reminding the audience that this is someone so lost in thought she's not watching what she's doing or thinking clearly. Karla Carona seems to be walking on air as the clueless Eurydice, jostled from near wedded bliss to the rigors of the underworld for eternity. To make her journey even more precarious, there is a Greek chorus of stones, a Big Stone (Will Casey), a Loud Stone (Alexander McRae), and a Little Stone (Ariana Lopez). They are clad in psychedelic robes, and they interject with prickly comments that are mostly irritating. Sound designer Petter Wahlback keeps the tension high with eerie notes circulating and haunting the production like a memory that is just about to return.

Eurydice is an ingenious and humorous artistic attempt to harness and rationalize the chaos that we live with. Sarah wreaks havoc on the forces at work within us that we have no control over.

Artistic Home Theatre's Eurydice, runs through November 21, 2021, at the Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL. Tickets are $35; $16 for students. For information, tickets, and COVID regulations, visit