Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
Milwaukee Repertory "The Rep"
For the second time in a month, Ghostlight is reviewing a production of Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice. This time the producer was Milwaukee Repertory and the production had a completely different energy than Victory Gardens' here in Chicago.
From the moment you walked into the Quadracci Powerhouse theatre you felt as if you were entering another world. You are greeted by Todd Rosenthal's imposing, abstract, and colorful set that lives in a whimsical world somewhere between Wonderland and the New York City Subway. The costume design did well with the underworld settings: the stones' dressed as children going to a birthday party and the progression of the Lord of the Underworld's character as he grows up was done perfectly.
While the design created a beautiful world mirroring Ruhl's enchanting script, the acting didn't always live up. The tone for the day was set in the scene in the Nasty-Interesting Man's penthouse apartment when the actors playing Eurydice and the Man couldn't rise above melodrama. This continued into the scene between the Father and Eurydice where ungrounded emotions often lead to weeping. Eurydice herself lacked the wide-eyed sense of looking at the world through the eyes of an innocent youth that are needed in a Sarah Ruhl heroine.
My overall impression was that the designers understood the play much more than the director and his actors. The ensuing result was a design that was more compelling than the performance that was happening on-stage. Davis Duffield was wonderfully caring and subtle in the role of Orpheus and the members of the Stone chorus did a wonderful job in getting under you skin as bratty children.
Happy Birthday - Lope de Vega (1562-1635)