The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance opens its 2019 spring season with the mainstage performance, “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl, with 7 p.m. showings Feb. 20 – 23 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 24. Produced at the Valborg Theatre on the university’s campus, tickets are $10 for students and $17 for adults.
“Eurydice” is playwright Sarah Ruhl’s interpretation of the famous Greek myth about Orpheus and his wife, Eurydice. The traditional story follows Orpheus as he attempts to return his wife to the “upper world” after she dies on their wedding day and is sent to the underworld. In Ruhl’s contemporary re-interpretation, Eurydice serves as the main character and new characters are introduced. It’s a story of being caught in the middle: between memory and reality, romance and family, and life and death.
Professor of theatre arts and show director Dr. Kin-Yan Szeto believes that everyone will be able to find something to identify with in this play.
“It’s related to universal themes about love, memory and loss. I think that everyone, at some time, has to face how fragile their life is,” she remarked. “We never really take time to think about that, but death can happen really suddenly to someone that you love and you lose that person and you have no idea how to deal with that.”
The play will give both the cast and their audience the space to consider these issues, she says.
Szeto invites audiences to take a moment to be present and reflect. She points to our fixation with our devices as a reason why this play is needed now more than ever.
“In a time when we are all so busy talking to each other on the phone, texting and multi-tasking, this play gives us a moment to think about why we are here.”
Featuring a student cast of eight actors, the production team also includes three student dramaturgs mentored by assistant professor of theatre arts Dr. Derek Davidson. The student dramaturgs are senior theatre education major L.J. Faircloth from Dunn, junior applied and public history major Lydia Biallas from Franklinton and sophomore theatre performance major Hannah Magee from Lexington.
Tony-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl has won several awards, including the Steinburg Distinguished Playwright Award and, most recently, the Samuel French Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre. Ruhl got her M.F.A. in Playwriting from Brown University and currently serves on the faculty at the Yale School of Drama. Besides “Eurydice,” she is best known for her works “The Clean House” and “In the Next Room,” both of which were Pulitzer Prize finalists.
To purchase tickets, call the Schaefer Center box office toll free at (800) 841-2787, locally at (828) 262-4046, visit the box office in person between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any weekday or go online to theschaefercenter.org/tickets. The Valborg Theatre is located on campus at the north side of Chapell Wilson Hall on Howard Street in Boone. The entrance faces the back of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street. Parking is available after 5 p.m. on campus in faculty/staff lots and after 5:30 p.m. in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons.
By Glenn Ramey
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.