Review: EURIDYCE at Town Players Of New Canaan

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By: Jun. 15, 2024
Review: EURIDYCE at Town Players Of New Canaan
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The Town Players of New Canaan, like most community theater groups, is known for bringing crowd pleasers to its mainstage. Stage II is for boutique plays. But Sarah Ruhl’s 2003 play Eurydice is too big for Stage II, but just right for the mainstage. However, there is a caveat. Although the Greek myths, like Shakespeare’s plays, were stories meant for the masses, this Eurydice is meant for a more intellectual and sophisticated audience.

For starters, the story is retold from Eurydice’s perspective, and it makes her a far more developed and interesting character than previously portrayed. The story has varying parallels with others such as the Japanese myth of Izanagi and Izanami, Mayan myth of Itzamna and Ixchel, Indian myth of Savitri and Satyavan, and biblical tale of Lot’s nameless wife.

In brief, Eurydice (Sally Rose Zuckert), a daughter of the god Apollo (Eric Dino) is all about books and Orpheus (River Glassberg) is all music all the time. On their wedding day, Eurydice leaves the reception to get a drink of water. “I always thought there would be more interesting people at my wedding,” she says. Of all figures in Greek mythology, who should greet her but the King of the Underworld (Grady Dennis), luring her with a letter from her late father. Of course, she’s going to follow him for it, but she trips, falls down the stairs, dies and goes to the Underworld where she meets the chorus Big Stone (Zoe Guaman), Little Stone (Kaitlan Clark), and Loud Stone (Erin Williams). They tell her the grim rules of the Underworld. Orpheus tries to rescue Eurydice by enchanting the gods with his sweet music. He ventures into the underworld to retrieve her, but the couple are warned that he can’t look back. If he does, she will be dead forever.

The caveat you were warned about is present throughout the play. The Stones can’t get through to Eurydice that the Underworld is not a stay at a hotel with fabulous rooms and amenities, and that her [empty] luggage is superfluous. Once Eurydice meets her father in the Underworld, they have a problem communicating as each remembers something the other doesn’t. Rather than being frustrating, it’s beautiful and rewarding to watch them. And Apollo, more of a devoted dad than we ever thought he was, fashions a “room” for her and she is content. So content, in fact, that when Orpheus finally comes to rescue her, she’s not all that interested in returning to the upper world. The audience should know the entire myth to better appreciate the play. Let’s not forget that eventually, there is a happy ending of sorts, but it doesn’t happen in this play. Orpheus is killed by the Maenads of Dionysis.

Eurydice is produced by Nova Hall and directed by Mat Young. The show runs Friday through Sundays, June 23rd at the Powerhouse Theatre in Waveny Park, New Canaan. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors, and $25 for students. For tickets call 203-594-3636 or visit tpnc.org.

Photo credit: Jonathan Hall




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