"Ruhl's EURYDICE Rules!"
The Domino Players, Albright College
In these busy final weeks of the semester, it’s hard to include everything we’d like to accomplish. But I’d hate to have the Domino Player’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice pass you by without a word of encouragement from me to attend one of this weekend’s performances. This is one of the most beautifully achieved Albright theatrical productions in recent memory, if, for example, your memory reaches back to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in 2006. In witty, pointed contemporary language, MacArthur Prize Winner Sarah Ruhl re-envisions the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, centering the drama on Eurydice’s experiences and choices rather than on Orpheus’s courage and desire. The route to hell may pass through a high-rise apartment, but we feel tangibly the thousands of years of meditation on the struggle of art and love with death that lie at its foundations.
Everything you see and hear is exquisite. Artist-in-Residence Jeffrey Lentz and Cocol Bernal have conceived a “world of the play” that recalls the houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, most notably Falling Water. Technical Director Wayne Vettleson has constructed the cantilevered platform, the grate, the panels, and Cocol, along with her loyal and tireless minions, has painstakingly worked these surfaces to create works of art (a foam-rubber sea, a chimney of letters, a rope labyrinth, a clothesline brocade, a pvc spumante, and a waterfall/elevator), all of which abet the action. Student costume designer Kate McGinn has the players perfectly attired for the beach, a wedding party, a trek on the trike, a painting by Magritte, and the business meeting from Hell. And student lighting designer Colin Lang has given his instruments – aimed from above, below and from the sides – crucial and brilliant roles to play in scene after scene. Jeff, of course, fills this world with beautiful speaking, eloquent gestures, gorgeous music, from Fauré and Django Reinhardt to Nat King Cole, graceful two-steps, split-second timing, and theatrical magic to tell a story that is, at once, amusing, edifying, and heart-breaking.
He has had at his disposal some of our most talented and hardest working actors, from a fresh-faced freshman to Sid Watts, who made his Domino Player debut in 1952. Such is the depth of dedication in the theatre department these days that behind the main cast stands an equally hard-working cover cast, ready to step up and in should the swine flu roam the campus once again. You can check the names of all of these talented players in your program.
Already this production has attracted the admiration of theatre professionals. One critic said, “I was simply blown away by what they’ve accomplished. I can’t get this play out of my head.”
I hope you too will take the opportunity to be blown away. Three performances remain, this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 18-20, 2010 at 8 PM in the Wachovia Theatre.
© John Robert Pankratz