Monthly Archive for: ‘March, 2013’

EURYDICE at Custom Made Theatre



Eurydice,(Jessica Rudholm) Her Father (Fred Pitts) and the Three Stones (Jermy Parkin, Helen Papas, Stefin Collins in Custom Made’s production of Eurydice.





EURYDICE by Sarah Ruhl. A reimagining of the Greek Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Directed by Katja Rivera. Production concept by Brian Katz. Original score by Liz Ryder. Custom Made Theatre Company, 1620 Gough Street, San Francisco. March 19- April 14, 2013.


Sarah Ruhl is an icon in the theatre and two of her plays (In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play and The Clean House) were Pulitzer Prize finalists. There is no doubt in this reviewer’s mind the she will eventually grab the brass ring and win that coveted prize. Her play Eurydice, written early in her career does not rate the accolades of her more recent works but is an intriguing part of her development as a playwright having more than a touch of self-importance as she undertakes a new slant on a well-known popular myth.

In ancient Greek myth Orpheus was a legendary musician with the ability to charm all living and inanimate things and even stones. When Eurydice dies shortly after their wedding and is sent to the Underworld, the distraught Orpheus breaks through the Gates Hell to retrieve her. And you know the rest of the story. If not, go to the intimate Custom Made Theatre and see an ambitious and imaginative production and find out the answer.

Where the plight of Orpheus descending into the underworld is the major theme of the myth, strong feminist activist Ruhl poses the question, “What is the plight of Eurydice?” The play is constructed from her viewpoint and requires a talented actor to play the role.  The diminutive Jessica Rudholm fits the bill beginning with the opening acrobatic love scene with statuesque David Naughton playing Orpheus. They are ably supported by Fred Pitts playing Eurydice’s father with understated charm and authority. Eric O’Kelly as a Nasty Interesting Man strides on stage on stilts and later appears without them as he pedals a child’s scooter to undertake the role of Lord of the Underworld. The ubiquitous Greek chorus is another imaginative touch being Big Stone, Loud Stone and Little Stone (Jeremy Parkin, Helen Pappas and Stefin Collins).

The production values are very clever and often whimsical with original music (Liz Ryder) well-suited to the action. There is an atmospheric modernistic set (Sarah Phykitt) in black and white skewed designs with a jagged door as Gate of the Underworld dominating rear stage. Providentially the running time of about 85 minutes will hold your attention.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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