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Eurydice

For millennia, the Greek legend of Orpheus has inspired many of the greatest poets, composers, dramatists, film makers, novelists, and artists, including Dante, "Shake-speare," Rilke, Milton, Auden, Monteverdi, Telemann, Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Liszt, Offenbach, Stravinsky, Glass, Tennessee Williams, Jean Anouilh, Jean Cocteau, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie, Titian, and Reubens.

Karen Slack as Eurydice
Karen Slack
as Eurydice
Photo by
Michael Ensminger
As envisioned by Sarah Ruhl, one of our most extraoardinary contemporary dramatists, and brought to fruition by director Chip Walton and the design team at Curious Theatre Company, the story's potential for bridging life and death, realism and magic, and time and eternity is fully realized in a wholly unique and impressively creative manner.

Conceived by the company in three movements—love, longing, and loss—with the thread of Garrett Ammon's choreography throughout, the play is infused with balletic and symphonic qualities and fine art imagery that enhance Ruhl's dreamy, free-associative vision, encapsulating the spectrum of human experience in a single act that runs just over an hour an a half.

Tyee Tilghman as Orpheus and Karen Slack as Eurydice
Tyee Tilghman as Orpheus
and Karen Slack as Eurydice
Photo by Michael Ensminger
Mixing and matching 20th-century details—a bathing suit, a fedora, a '40's ditty, a plastic umbrella—with a classical elements (chorus and structure), the play transcends culture, forcing us to focus on its universal questions.

Karen Slack's Eurydice is innocent and disarmingly honest, setting up the surreal norms of the land of the dead: Tyee Tilghman, genial and inspired, encompasses Orpheus' dual nature, god and mortal; together, they seamlessly transition between dimensions and worlds.

Jim Hunt as Her Father
Jim Hunt as Her Father
Photo by Michael Ensminger
To live in the underworld, yet resist the temptation to numb oneself against loss while maintaining one's emotional ties to the living, requires a special kind of love, as evinced by Jim Hunt as Eurydice's father.

Mark Pergola is a crackup as Ruhl's alternately hilarious and frightening version of the myth's satyr and snake. As the oh-so-sober Stones, John Jurcheck (Big), Courtney Hayes-Jurcheck (Little), and Dee Covington (Loud) inhabit a tonal and physical range so broad as to defy their numbers and the reputation of their mineral bretheran.

(Left to right) Courtney Hayes-Jurcheck as Little Stone, Dee Covington as Loud Stone, and John Jurcheck as Big Stone
Courtney Hayes-Jurcheck as Little Stone,
Dee Covington as Loud Stone,
and John Jurcheck as Big Stone
Photo by Michael Ensminger
Over the years, director Walton and set designer Michael R. Duran have separately and together created some memorable images in the genre of magical realism—Jose Rivera's Marisol and Paula Vogel's The Long Christmas Ride Home come to mind—but Ruhl's poetic script provides an otherworldly opportunity like no other and they succeed brilliantly.

Curious Theatre Company's Eurydice runs through April 18th at the Acoma Center. 303-623-0524.

Bob Bows

 

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