One of history’s oldest tragedies is being brought to life this weekend, as Bishop Noll Institute’s young thespians are set to perform “Eurydice,” a 2003 retelling by Sarah Ruhl of the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus – told from the perspective of his wife Eurydice.
The legendary story of Eurydice and Orpheus is one of love and loss – with Ruhl’s rendition focusing on Eurydice’s time in the Underworld as her husband and unparalleled musician Orpheus searches for a way to reunite with her.
“I wanted to do something different this year, we’ve mastered the comedy I think,” said Kayla Konkle, director of the play. “We’ve done a lot of high comedy, really silly stories, but I wanted to challenge my students this year with something a bit more serious, a bit darker. I wanted something that would really challenge their acting ability.”
Death looms large in “Eurydice,” dragging the characters, and their actors, to the lowest of lows as they navigate its challenges.
“Once I knew I was in this play for the long haul, I knew that I’d have to put myself in a lot of dark spots,” said senior Brian Barragan, who plays Orpheus. “I needed to do that to get the right atmosphere for the role. Once I got there, it was easy sailing.”
Konkle spent a lot of time doing one-on-one sessions with the cast, to help them learn how to channel the loss, despair, fear, and anger demanded by the roles.
“You have to go back to the dark experiences that you’ve actually had, especially when you’re having a breakdown on stage like I have to,” said junior Iris Romero, who stars as Eurydice. “Depending on what character you’re interacting with you have to look back to people in your life that may have hurt you, and put you in those dark spots. You have to mentally take yourself back in time to how much that hurt.”
It was not an easy process – months of work learning the roles, crafting the production, and drilling its movements into memory.
“I’m really happy, we’ve worked really hard for a really long time,” Romero said. “There were some rough days and a lot of challenging moments, but overall I’m really proud of every single person.”
Barragan echoed Romero’s thoughts, noting the cast is looking forward to showcasing the production to friends and family.
“I think it’s come together great,” Barragan said. “Everything’s come together smoothly.”
Few are likely to be prouder than Konkle, who praised her students for rising to “Eurydice’s” challenges.
“I cry every time I watch it,” she said. “A lot of students dug deep to find personal connections to this story, and we discussed a lot of personal tragedies as a group and that brought us closer together. I think that a lot of people will be surprised by what this show has to offer.”
Eurydice runs from 11/18 – 11/20, with showings at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, a 3 p.m. showing on Saturday, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. You can learn more and buy tickets at www.onthestage.tickets/show/bishop-noll-institute/