Photo by Maddie Niles, a student at Colgan High School. Left to right: Wyatt Unrue and Ainsley McNatt.

Colgan High School's performance of Eurydice was a haunting, unforgettable experience. Written in 2003 by Sarah Ruhl, the play is a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus. In the original tale, Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, dies on their wedding night, and Orpheus, sick with grief, plays a melody so full of longing that he is allowed to bring her back to the land of the living, so long as he makes it there without turning to look at her. But Ruhl's story is told through the eyes of Eurydice and introduces a new conflict: Eurydice has found her father in the Underworld and has all but forgotten her husband. This innovative take on an ancient story would be a challenge for any theater company, but Colgan High School's Eurydice was one to be remembered.

The eponymous character was masterfully played by Ainsley McNatt, giving a heart-wrenching performance from the very moment that she stepped onstage. Eurydice's struggle between the love she'd revived for her father and the love she could only just remember for her husband was painstakingly telegraphed in McNatt's movements, expressions and voice, crafting a dynamic and emotional character that beautifully fit such a difficult, complex role. Complimenting her was Wyatt Unrue, whose Orpheus was delicate and plaintive, every line colored by a deep, dull ache for his lost love that did indeed bring even stones to tears. These Stones were a Greek chorus of three actresses working to maintain order in the Underworld, even as Eurydice and her father try to recreate a piece of their past life in such a dark place. Played by Faith Bradley, Genesis Graves and Julia Sapack, their rhythmic lines and firm voices helped to scaffold the minimalist set of the Underworld and grounded scenes of familial reconnection and recollection of the cold reality of death. Jaron Curtis' Lord of the Underworld ranged from playful to sinister, providing an unsettling sense of humor. And Eurydice's father, portrayed by Brandon White, was a steady, solemn presence whose boundless love and hope for his daughter never faltered, not even as he watched her leave him behind a second time.

Working in harmony with such strong performances by the actors, Eurydice's technical design was nothing short of perfect. The set, designed by Ziad Afifi, Kaydin Andruzzi and Han Ramroop, was subtle and abstract, painted in carefully blurred lines of dull color and was a chameleon that adapted deftly to every scene. From a beach to a wedding party to the Underworld, the simple set pieces were able to cleverly convey decrepitude, dread, possibility, hope and more as an understated companion to each scene. Notable also was the hair and makeup design by Desirae Brown and Emma Hughes, who painted dark lines on the faces of the Stones like veins of ore and painted their forearms all the same stonelike gray, cementing them as figures otherworldly and strange. Not to be forgotten, however, was Eurydice's creative team, Wyatt Unrue and Alex Wolf who composed two songs for this production, including Orpheus' mournful dirge for the love of his life. The music, consciously written in the key of E minor, contained twelve different parts for twelve different instruments, woven together to craft a beautiful ode to grief and longing, a flawless addition to the show.

Every part of Colgan High School's Eurydice was an exquisite union of cast and crew, the two supporting each other to create a stellar performance that exceeded every expectation of what high school theater could be. From acting to sets, makeup to composing, every element of this show was to die for.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.