Eurydice production bound for Traverse Theatre

Eurydice production bound for Traverse Theatre

The tale of lovelorn musician Orpheus and his efforts to bring back his wife Eurydice from the Underworld has fascinated artists for millennia and been immortalised in the poetry of Ovid, countless operas and operettas, and even a bawdy ballad by Nick Cave. While that song saw Eurydice get the best line and the last laugh, Sarah Ruhl’s play shifts the focus firmly onto the female character, introducing her fascination with words as a counterpart to her lover’s musical ear, as well as a new character in the shape of the young bride’s recently deceased father.

Ruhl’s Eurydice topples into a fantastical, surreally Wonderland-like Underworld on the day of her wedding, after reading a letter from her father. The struggle here is not between Orpheus and the gods of the Underworld, but instead within Eurydice’s heart as she tries to preserve her love for her father without being crippled by grief over his death, and to square this with the deep love she feels for her new husband.

Olivier Award-nominated director Bijan Sheibani is bringing this realigned tale of loss and love to Edinburgh, heading up the same team who produced last year’s acclaimed The Brothers Size. ‘It has a similar heartbeat’, he says of the new production, ‘and both plays have been written in response to difficult personal experiences for the playwrights, so you’ve got a depth of experience in each piece that is just beautifully articulated.’

And as for the playwright, who wrote the play while grieving for her own father, it’s picking up a pen and turning pain into creativity that offers the only route to redemption for Eurydice.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 17–Sat 20 Mar


US playwright Sarah Ruhl retells the Orpheus and Eurydice story from the perspective of the female lover, who is suddenly cast, memory wiped, into the underworld.

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