Young Professionals present 'Eurydice'
Cast of timeless tale includes West Linn's Zyla Zody
Oregon Children's Theatre's Young Professionals Company will open "Eurydice" Jan. 26. The play is a modern take on the classic Orpheus myth told through the heroine's eyes.
The story follows Eurydice, who experiences an untimely death on her wedding day and plummets to the underworld. With no memory of her past, she unites with her father to try to help her remember her lost love, Orpheus.
Every twist and turn will keep audiences guessing in award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl's contemporary take on "Orpheus."
Ruhl is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. In a New York Times review of "Eurydice" at the Second Stage Theater, Ruhl is described as "an adventurer who is not afraid to blend the quotidian and the fantastic, deep feeling and airy whimsy."
In Ruhl's adaptation of the Orpheus myth, the focus is on Eurydice's experience after she is sent to the underworld, rather than Orpheus' journey to find her. Ruhl's often poetic dialogue is mixed with equally moving wordless moments in the play. The New York Times reviewer stated that "its hallucinatory imagery and emotional allure have remained with me."
"Ruhl's stage directions are as intentional, creative and artful as her dialogue; she embraces the multiple ways in which a story can be told on the stage," said "Eurydice" Director Lauren Hanover.
"Ruhl makes rooms for silence in her plays, and is able to switch back and forth in her storytelling between spoken words and physical action with a fluidity and dexterity that few other playwrights possess."
This is Hanover's first time directing OCT's Young Professionals Company.
"Student performers epitomize all that is wonderful about theater," she said. "Creativity, collaboration and cooperation, empathy and trust. They remind me of the value of this work and why it is worth doing."
The cast features Fiona Jenkins as Eurydice, Nate Gardner as Orpheus, Max Bernsohn as Father, Madeleine Adriance as Big Stone, Heidi Osaki as Loud Stone, Zyla Zody as Little Stone and Hank Sanders as Nasty Interesting Man/Lord of the Underworld.
Zody is a sophomore at West Linn High School. Now in her second year as part of YPC, this is her first show.
"I am part of the trio who act as guardians of the underworld," she said. "We have been working on creating a unique look for the Stone by manipulating fabric during the tableaus onstage."
She said the trio has also been working on choral speaking, a new skill for her.
The cast is small — just seven actors — and the rehearsal schedule is ambitious but Zody says keeping up with school and other responsibilities is not a problem, as she is motivated to glean all she can from this experience.
The Young Professionals Company is composed of dedicated theater students ages 14 to 18 who have been selected to participate in a year-long mentoring program where they receive advanced training through exposure to a wide range of college-level workshops and professional development.
Each season the company presents three shows and other public events. The YPC is dedicated to building a supportive community of theater peers, providing them with resources, information and professional on-the-job training.
Zody aims to study theater in college, but for now is content to participate in YPC.
"If you are interested in theater you ought to get involved with Young Professionals," she said. "And everyone should come see 'Eurydice.' It has romance, tragedy, action, humor and a beautiful set, plus amazing actors. I feel so lucky to be involved."
"Eurydice" runs Jan. 26 through Feb. 11, with shows at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Young Professionals Studio Theater, 1939 N.E. Sandy Blvd. in Portland. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Tickets for groups of eight or more are $8, with the code YPGROUP1718. The show is recommended for those ages 12 and up.
Learn more and buy tickets online at oct.org/Eurydice.