REVIEW – Eurydice – Douglas Morrisson Theatre

I don’t consider myself to be a very emotional being. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m intuitive and perceptive with regard to emotion, I’m just not easily or often found actually exhibiting emotions from the sentimental, romantic, sad or distraught area of the feelings spectrum. It’s because of this controlled, analytical side of myself, that I’m especially intrigued when a piece of theater can move me in that direction. In fact, I find it to be a little bit miraculous. While this review will no doubt try to unearth and articulate why I loved Douglas Morrisson Theatre’s production of Eurydice, for what it’s worth, I don’t think one should necessarily try to dissect a miracle. Even a small one of the theatrical variety. I cannot do justice to the deeply mesmerizing language of this play, and I feel it is a punishable offense in many ways to try to do so. That being said, if there is a chance that any of my words could alert someone to this production who might not otherwise be aware of it and perhaps persuade them to attend, it is a crime I am too willing to commit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a love affair with Greek Myths. Furthermore, I have a deep appreciation and affinity for this playwright. While I hadn’t read or seen a production of Eurydice before this, these two passions, combined with an intensely growing love for DMT, set the expectations for this performance high and dangerously so at that. The high expectations made it even more exhilarating when I found myself totally engrossed from the minute I sat down.

Thank you for a beautifully lit tableau lighting designer. Thank you for a lovely and complex enigma of a stage to take in while I wait for the play to commence set designer. Thank you for an originally composed piano score that plays like a mythical prologue, so crisp and vivid that I can visualize every detail of the extravagant room behind the set where the piano and its player must surely sit. Thank you for playing live throughout the production, giving another layer of vibration and life to this show which is so reliant on music to fill in when mere words fail. The play is married to music in an infinite number of ways and the attention to that union is well-respected in this choice. Thank you for interesting and fun costuming that was genuinely thoughtful, creative and in many ways echoed the humor of the script the most. And, thank you for the most magical moment I’ve had this year in theater. I can’t remember the last time I was so surprised and taken by a visual effect. I was not the only one to gasp audibly at the site of such a perfectly gorgeous, ethereal moment. The sensation of just wanting to capture a single breathes worth of awe is what art strives to accomplish and what the visionary crew succeeds in achieving here.

A special nod goes to the most delightfully committed and twisted Greek Chorus I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. They graced the stage in such a marvelously physical way, that I instantly forgave all the “stupid” acting exercises I ever had to endure. You know the ones where you pretend you weigh 1,000 pounds or you were an icicle on the moon. I don’t think I’ve ever understood where you could possibly use such tactics effectively before this fabulous chorus appeared. Indeed, they were unexpected catalysts to transforming my well established thoughts on such training techniques. A wicked nut to crack, indeed.

Those fathers and daughters with a particularly strong connection may be especially moved by this play, so come prepared if you are so inclined. The playwright (and this cast and crew) GET relationships and that bond specifically is crafted superbly. Additionally, consider yourself warned if you’ve recently lost a loved one. There is a cathartic thread to this play that is liable to heal your heart and rip at your wounds all at once. And, those of you that live in that weepy, misty state more often than not, you won’t be certain if they’re tears of sorrow or happiness, but bring your tissue for both for sure.

While a tiny bit slow at first, and while the acting feels unbalanced in places, there is SO much about this production that is simply enthralling. There’s no intermission which normally irritates me, but for this production I was glad not to be dragged back to reality too soon. Its thoughtful, layered pacing helps it walk that delicate line between innocence and heartbreak. Its poignant wit is at times shrouded in eccentricity and at others exposed as the simplest, most raw, fundamentally natural, authentic expression of love and loss. It is poetry and it is noise, flowing like the essential music, scored with hard truths and silky joys. An enthusiastic 4 ½ jewels out of 5 in the review tiara for a modern and miraculous, love letter to life. A whimsical, lovely, enchanting journey. Eurydice plays through June 9th at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hayward.

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