By Janet Martineau
Tonight (Feb. 5), Pit and Balcony Community Theater opens its production of "Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl.
Prepare yourself, it is a doozy. Charming yet wacky. Playful yet serious. Set back in the time of mythology yet totally contemporary. Off-the-wall yet intensely human. So full of color and wild costumes and inventive special effects that sometimes you miss the equally wonderful words.
In a nutshell, Ruhl rule has taken the story of Orpheus, a legendary musician, poet and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. A man able to charm all living things, even stones, with his music. And most important of all a love sick man who tries to retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the underworld. We suggest you check him out on the Internet in Wikipedia to brush up on your mythology...
... Because Ruhl has gone behind the story to focus on Eurydice, not Orpheus. She tells her unwritten story, from being courted by Orpheus to her time in the underworld where she meets up with dear old dad -- in 75 minutes with no intermission.
Brandon Bierlein directs this production. And directs it very solidly. But A HUGE shout out also to Tony Serra as the scenic designer, Mary Whalen Swift as the scenic painter, Janet Beattie as the incredible costume designer and Jacob Kaufman as the sound designer.
This show is a visual and sound delight first and foremost. If somehow the unusual script doesn't float your boat, everything else will.
And oh the cast. Talk about always being in the moment.
Abby Cline, she with the most remarkable rubber face and eye intensity that can show endless emotions, is in the title role with Isaac Wood as her beloved Orpheus -- he sporting an iPhone and headset to listen to his music.
Dexter Brigham is the father of Eurydice, a kindly, gentle soul who just captures your love right away. Brett Fallis portrays Nasty Interesting Man and who lures Eurydice to her death, as well as a child (as is crawling on his knees) who really grows up (as in stilts) to further annoy our heroine as the Lord of the Underworld. He's a real turd.
And Carly Peil, Josie Norris and Emma Massey play the underworld's Loud Stone, Big Stone and Little Stone to absolute perfection.
These stones talk, dance, change caustic expressions constantly and connive every step of the way. Yet when they are silent and still ARE stoney stones. They prefer dead people. Yep...these stones rock.
The water mentioned comes from three sources. Real running water – as in from a faucet and rain and even in an elevator.
If you go, keep an open mind and just enjoy.