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“Eurydice” unites classical with contemporary

Gillian Constable (‘17) performs alongside Eva Gemlo (‘17).

Gillian Constable (‘17) performs alongside Eva Gemlo (‘17).

Kien Dao (‘20) | Photo Bureau

Kien Dao (‘20) | Photo Bureau

Gillian Constable (‘17) performs alongside Eva Gemlo (‘17).

Xavier Conzet, Staff Writer

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“Eurydice,” a senior honors project, sold out every seat for each show on April 8 and 9 in the Center for the Arts (CFA). Inspired by the fable of Orpheus, the play written by Sarah Ruhl in 2003 is told from the perspective of the character Eurydice and has several changes from the original myth.

Student Director Eleana Hoekstra (‘17)  explained that her goal in directing this play was to show the ability of classical and ancient stories to be reinterpreted in a contemporary setting.

“I want the audience to know that classical stories still have something to tell us,” Hoekstra said. “There are themes within these kinds of stories that can still be found in life today and can continue to be brought to life in new ways.”

After his death, Eurydice’s father preserved his memory in order to  send his daughter letters from Hades. While trying to retrieve the letters from a strange man, Eurydice rejects the man’s seduction attempts and then falls down the stairs, resulting in her death.

The dead Eurydice must choose to either return to earth to her husband or remain in the underworld with her father. “Eurydice” begins by displaying the tragedy of her death and descent into Hades as well as Orpheus’ undying search for a way to contact her.

Kien Dao (‘20) | Photo Bureau
Gillian Constable (‘17) performs in “Eurydice.”

In the second act, the performance moved from the upstairs lobby in the CFA to the stairs. 

Hoekstra, along with Gillian Constable (‘17) and Eva Gemlo (‘17) decided to make recreating “Eurydice” their senior honors project because they were all fascinated by the story when they read it for the first time. A senior honors project is a year long project as opposed to a semester.

“We read it again last year when we were juniors and when it was time to start planning  our senior project we thought about how we as artists love to collaborate,” Hoekstra said. “We collectively decided to do ‘Eurydice’.”

The conflict between familial and romantic love was one of the themes featured. Eurydice, played by Constable, is caught between the love of her father and her husband Orpheus.

Hoekstra felt that the play highlighted these two different kinds of love. 

“The play does a very good job showing the conflict that happens in every person’s life as they are growing up,” Hoekstra said. “I think the college environment where people are getting ready to leave school and go off into the real world is the perfect place to show this performance.”

Colin Eral (‘17) played Eurydice’s father and hoped the audience made a personal connection.

“I hope that they can see and comprehend the fatherly love that you can give to your children,” Eral said. “It can be applied to other types of relationships as well such as romantic and platonic.”

Hoekstra was pleased to see the results of her year long project as well as that of the cast and crew.

“I think Colin Eral and Gillian Constable did a very good job of showing the heartbreak of losing a parent,” Hoekstra said. “They did a very good job of connecting with their emotions and I think having a live audience heightened that for them.”

Stage manager Matthew Espey (‘19) voiced his agreement and thought the production was a success. He especially thought the simplistic style of the set worked well with the production.

“This is a timeless tale,” Espey said. “A lot of these classics can be worked into a contemporary setting because they are relatable. The fact that this show was able to be put into the setting it was and still work will show how much people can connect to it on a human level.”

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