Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Why Produce Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice?

It takes a playwright of uncommon bravery to write the kinds of cryptic stage directions that Sarah Ruhl uses in EURYDICE. Directions like "He picks her up and throws her into the sky" or "He creates a room of string. It takes time to build a room out of string" or simply "Time passes." Many playwrites would be tempted to spell out in detail what should happen in these scenes and these moments, but Ruhl leaves all of this up to the imaginations of the play's creative team. She invites us to be creative partners and to invent a truly unique experience.

This is part of what inspired me to direct this play: the opportunity to gather a team of talented artists and create this play together, as an ensemble, in a way that is personal and meaningful to us. This invitation to be playful and explore the play from new perspectives is what led us to tear apart the Heartland Studio to create a whole new audience configuration, to match the poetry of the words with stylized movement and original music, and to cast a young woman in the male role of Orpheus. We can confidently proclaim that this is a production of EURDICE like none you have seen before.

For me, all of this artistry is aimed at a very personal message: At the heart of this weird little play is danger and tragedy of not being able to let go of the people we love when their time with us is over. We will all deal with loss and change in our lives. Maybe you have already. It is part of being human. Everything in life, including this production, will eventually be over and gone. But we cannot spend so much time looking back that we never look ahead. And in this play, and in the courage and love and creativity that our artists pour into each performance, I am reminded of this lesson.

Charles Riffenburg
Eurydice Director