A Very Full House For Eurydice: Show Review


The evening of Thursday, January 26th, boasted the first of three Armstrong Black Box Theatre productions of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, a semi-modernized, off-kilter spin on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, a tragic love story in which a man with a divine musical gift—his way with a song so beautiful that it famously makes the stones weep to hear it—takes a perilous journey to down Hades to retrieve his recently dead lover, hoping to return her to the land of the living.

Sarah Ruhl’s version is a far cry from Virgil and Ovid, to say the least—liberties are certainly taken in this re-imagination of a beloved old story, liberties exaggerated to the utmost by the cast of Armstrong’s student production. All of it came together to create an unexpectedly exciting, uniquely absurdist, extremely energetic effect that ran nonstop through the crowd like a livewire all night.

Ticket distribution caught on a favorable snare before the play began, as it became increasingly difficult to find seats for every eager attendant of the show—turnout was as full as a full house can hope to be. All through the tightly-packed crowd, the anticipation was practically tangible as audience members discussed what prior knowledge they may have had of the myth or of the play itself or as they happily expressed their total lack of prior knowledge and their excitement to encounter the story for the first time in this delightfully unique way.
Bloom Andrade and Logan Western—the actors portraying Eurydice and Orpheus, respectively—instantly established the production’s tone from the moment of their first appearance onstage, infectiously energetic and immediately charming, energy matched in full by their castmates. From Ben Longren’s heartwarming portrayal of Eurydice’s father to the endlessly entertaining Chorus of Stones (comprised of Cameron Saypack, Gabby Reilly, and Makayla Bynes), all the way through into Ethan Goble’s strange and bafflingly funny performance as the Lord of the Underworld. I simply cannot name a cast member who failed to captivate the thoroughly engaged audience.

I imagine it is very difficult to produce a version of a poignant tragedy that can carry the audience along light-heartedly and with a smile. Still, Armstrong’s cast of Eurydice did just that, leaving playgoers with a fascinating impression of not taking life or death too seriously. By the curtain call, the cast received what I can call a screaming ovation, the entire room’s atmosphere saturated with smiles and leftover laughter.
Eurydice is running two more shows: Friday, January 27th, and Saturday, January 28th, at 7:30 PM in the Jenkins Hall Black Box Theatre. Tickets are free for students, faculty, and staff with the presentation of an Eagle ID, and general admission is $10.