K-State brings Broadway play ‘Eurydice’ to Chapman Theatre

Madison Plouvier, sophomore in theatre, Angelica McKinnis, senior in fine arts, and Ben Deghand, senior in theatre act as stones while Mitch Ward, senior in theatre (playing A Nasty Interesting Man and The Lord of the Underworld), and Mallory Diekmann, junior in agricultural communications and journalism (playing Eurydice), perform during a preview of Eurydice in Chapman Theatre on Oct. 15, 2015. (Jeannie Grumblatt | The Collegian)

K-State’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance kicked off its fall performance season in the Mark A. Chapman Theatre Thursday night with “Eurydice.”

The Sarah Ruhl play is a retelling of the Greek myth, Orpheus, from the perspective of his wife Eurydice. After a tragic accident, Eurydice must decide between returning to the land of the living or staying in the underworld with her father.

“I enjoyed the show; it was very expressionistic,” audience member Sam Massey, junior in theater, said. “I think it will force people to ask questions when they leave versus just make them feel a certain emotion.”

Ruhl writes adaptations of classical stories like Orpheus, and her stage directions allow for interpretation. Libby Stratton, director of the play, said she was excited to tackle the piece because of its ability to be interpreted in different ways.

“There are a lot of ways people can tell this story,” Stratton, also a theater instructor, said. “I love the movement aspect of theatre, and the way (the author’s) play is written out physically and structurally helped to inform me, as the director, how to piece the play together.”

Three characters play stones and juxtapose the nature of actual stones by having human-like qualities. The stones provide rhythmic movements to the play and create pictures on stage. Madison Plouvier, sophomore in theater, played the Little Stone.

“We are constantly in different shapes,” Plouvier said. “We have to contort our bodies in so many different ways and hold positions for a long time. We only get to relax after we leave the stage. It is challenging, but adrenaline rushing,”

Mitch Ward, senior in theater, played the Lord of the Underworld and said he believes the play’s themes are still important today.

“The themes of this play are extremely relevant and impactful to people who can relate,” Ward said. “Eurydice gets herself into trouble because she has to choose between her father and her husband; the loss in this play is quite universal. Choosing to forget or forgetting to remember is a struggle we all go through.”

The actor’s portrayal of each character was a highlight for some who attended. Audience member Daniel Dissmore, senior in history and music, said the actors were convincing in their emotions.

“I thought the characters’ portrayals were great, especially emotionally, as they went through their own journeys onstage,” Dissmore said.

The play will be performed again at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday and next weekend in Mark A. Chapman Theatre in Nichols Hall. The final showing will be a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Stratton said she hopes people will find the humor in the play, but also embrace the sadness of it. To her, the show was impactful, innovative and heartbreaking.

“The play will open people’s eyes, and possible wounds, but good theater should always do that,” Ward said.