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FROM A WOMAN’S POINT OF VIEW . . .Cedar Crest Stage Company Presents Lehigh Valley Premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice”
A Modern Twist on the Orpheus MythProduction to Run October 23 – 26, 2008
Allentown, PA (October 2, 2008) - The Cedar Crest Stage Company presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice,” October 23-26, 2008 in the Samuels Theatre in the Tompkins College Center at Cedar Crest College.
In “Eurydice,” the playwright re-imagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Eurydice, a young woman and new bride, journeys to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. With contemporary characters, ingenious plot twists, and breathtaking visual effects, the play is a fresh look at a timeless love story.
Tim Brown, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of Eurydice, says that this production will have a decidedly unique and striking visual style, including special water effects. “In our production of “Eurydice” we will include a river, a water elevator, rain and other special effects. All of these effects are essential to the storytelling. In the underworld, water is the cleansing agent that takes away your memory. It prepares you to exist there without being encumbered by the memories of your former life.”
Brown says the show also centers on communication — or the lack of communication — between the central characters. This theme provides the audience with insight into the fates of Orpheus and Eurydice — and how their inability to forge a strong bond of communication between each other plays a factor in their story’s resolution.
“I am constantly fascinated by how effectively (or ineffectively) we communicate with one other,” says Brown. “And in “Eurydice’ this concept is an important theme. The lack of communication between Eurydice and Orpheus, both on a literal and emotional level, becomes central to the story.”
To play up this sensibility, the production will include a modern, technological edge as communication vehicles – especially antiquated forms of communication like old computers, obsolete printers and primitive cell phones —will adorn the set.
This is not the first foray into the world of contemporary retelling of classic Greek drama for Brown and the Cedar Crest Stage Company. Last year, they produced Charles Mee’s Big Love, and prior to that, they mounted a very successful production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses.
“When we mounted ‘Metamorphoses’ a few years ago, the segment featuring the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice quickly became a favorite of the stories we staged,” says Brown. “Of course, this version is quite different. In the original tale, Eurydice is a secondary character. In this play, the focus is totally flipped and Eurydice is the anchor the story.”
“One of the goals of the performing arts at Cedar Crest College is to present fare like ‘Metamorphoses’ and ‘Big Love’ — not only contemporary plays and musicals that our audience may not yet be exposed to, but also works that have a unique women’s point of view. Sarah Ruhl’s works are a good fit with our goals.”
Ruhl, the winner of a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship, has established herself as ‘the young American playwright of the moment.’ She has been hailed as a writer “with a unique comic voice, perspective, and sense of theater" and she is fast leaving her mark on the American stage.
The cast of "Eurydice" includes Michelle Tetreault as Eudydice and Ralph Montesano as her father. Dave Serfass is Orpheus. The cast also includes Brittany Ankiewicz, Chealsea Anagnoson, Samantha Hyson, Nick Martorelli, Mariah McMullen, Grace Patton, Heather Pullins, Katherine Stevenson and Yumiko Sugawara.
“Eurydice” is directed by Tim Brown. Set and lighting design is by Roxanne Amico. Costumes are by Rebecca Callan. Brown also serves as sound designer. The production is stage managed by Jennifer Dowling.
"Eurydice" runs October 23, 24 and 25 at 8:00 p.m. and October 26 at 2:00 p.m. in the Samuels Theatre, Tompkins College Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For more information and tickets please call the Box Office at 610-606-4608.
About the Playwright
Sarah Ruhl, the winner of a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship, has established herself as ‘the young American playwright of the moment.’ She burst onto the scene in 2004 when she received the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004 for her play “The Clean House,” which has been produced at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia, South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC and at Lincoln Center in New York. That play was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005. Her play “Eurydice” quickly followed. Ruhl is also known for her “Passion Play” cycle that opened at Washington's Arena Stage in 2005. Her play “Dead Man's Cell Phone” recently finished an extended run at New York's famed Playwrights Horizons in a production starring Mary-Louise Parker.
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