Eurydice | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

EURYDICE, Piven Theatre. Like many writers before her, playwright Sarah Ruhl adapts the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to her own devices, though the basic tale remains unchanged: Orpheus's music so moves the gods that they allow him to retrieve his wife from the underworld. Some of Ruhl's innovations are intriguing: Orpheus descends to Hades by elevator and "showers" in the river Lethe, and worms carry messages between the upper and lower realms. What's lacking is a coherent context for these fanciful motifs, particularly once Ruhl adds the characters of Eurydice's father, who dwells somewhere between life and death, and a grandmother's tap-dancing ghost.

Bernard Beck is winsomely grave as Eurydice's selfless sire, while Polly Noon and Sean Cooper strive for emotional intensity as the giddy newlyweds. But having a single actor (who rides a tricycle at one point) play Hymen, Aristaeus, and Hades soon grows as disorienting as the children's chorus is annoying. If we don't know where we are, what happened when, or who's telling the story, it's hard to muster much sympathy for anyone's pain or loss.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment