Columbus State University theater students explore Greek mythology with their production of “Eurydice.”
The classic myth is focused on Orpheus, a man who falls in love with and marries Eurydice, one of Apollo’s daughters.
One day, Eurydice steps on a poisonous snake and dies. A distraught Orpheus goes to the Underworld to find Eurydice and bring her back.
Orpheus finds Eurydice and is allowed to led her out of the Underworld if he walks ahead and doesn’t look back at her. Just before the couple reaches safety, Orpheus looks back and loses Eurydice forever.
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Becky Becker, an associate professor at the CSU department of theater, says this play is different from the classic myth.
“This is a contemporary version of the Orpheus myth,” Becker said. “This is written from Eurydice’s viewpoint.”
Playwright Sarah Ruhl wrote this version in 2003, and she added a character. When Eurydice gets to the Underworld, she finds her father. Her father is not in the classic Greek myth.
Ruhl wrote this play after her father’s death, and Becker said Ruhl incorporated her own grief into the play.
The plays is about love, death, loss and reunion.
“It sounds somber, but it is comic and whimsical,” Becker said.
Nikolas Anthony Carleo, who plays Orpheus, calls the play character-driven.
“They are seen in good and bad light and we have to make it believable,” he said about the cast.
Abby Blankenship, who recently appeared in “The Crucible,” is playing Eurydice.
“They are totally different,” she said of the two plays. “There is a whole new sense of discovery” every time she rehearses.
Blankenship said Eurydice is a little too trusting and a little naive.
She said the love between Orpheus and Eurydice is “so pure and true, but even the greatest of love has its faults even under the best circumstances.”
And if Eurydice has learned anything, “it’s that things can happen in the blink of an eye.”
Chris Steele, plays the villain in the play. He says his role as Nasty Interesting Man/Boy is sort of the “king of the Underworld.” He calls it the best role in the play.
“I probably have the most fun,” he said. “I get to be mischievous.”
At the same time, his character “goes through growth and change.”
Steele said he’s never been cast as a villain before and he likes it.
“It definitely allows me to be more playful,” he said. “It’s more fun.”
This was the only show Steele auditioned for this year. “This was the only show I wanted to do.”
Carleo felt the same. He got a major role when he was cast as Orpheus, but he was willing to do anything.
“I wanted to be in this,” Carleo said, “even if I had to be a tree.”
CSU’s freshman class is larger than usual, Becker said. She had 90 students audition for “Eurydice.” She called back 30 and cast seven actors and two understudies.
Guests will see a different configuration of CSU’s Studio Theatre for this play. It’s a traverse stage, with the set in the middle and seating on either side.
The actors have the challenge of making sure that guests on each side of the room can see and hear the play.
“There is intricate blocking,” Blankenship said.
“It’s almost choreographed,” Carleo said.
Student assistant director Jackie Kappes said people will be able to relate to this play, especially because of the relationship between Eurydice and her father.
Sandra Okamoto, email@example.com or 706-571-8580.