Theatre review: Eurydice – staging makes emotional connection impossible

I have to admit that Secretly Women’s Eurydice was one of the most frustrating shows I have seen in a long time.

Joey Bothwell and Patrick Spencer in the Secretly Women Productions presentation of Eurydice

Going in with high hopes due to the group’s amazing production of Stop Kiss in 2009 (which made our top ten list that year), I was ultimately disappointed as director Missy Cross decided to play so much low to the stage floor that even straining to see around the audience in front of me, I still missed a good chunk of the performance.

Perhaps it may not have been quite so bad had sightlines not been a problem right out of the gate, but when the first scene introduces the two main characters and is played out of sight, it was impossible for any emotional connection.  By the time that first scene ended I was already so frustrated that I simply didn’t care and when a show like Eurydice relies so much on an audience’s emotional investment, you can see how that can be problematic.

This continued to be an ongoing battle throughout the show and I’m pretty sure the audience members behind me were as equally frustrated as I shifted continually in an attempt to peek above and around those in front of me.  I saw other “gophers” in the audience as well.  At the point where the Chorus of Stones is revealed, there were audible gasps and even comments of “no way” from the audience.  I had no idea what the fuss was all about and only added to my frustration.

I’m going to do something in this review that I’ve never done before and recommend you look to the Vancouver Courier’s Jo Ledingham or the Georgia Straight’s Colin Thomas for their reviews.  They were sitting in a different part of the theatre, a few feet higher than me.  Perhaps they saw more.  For me though, it is impossible to review only half a show: I came for theatre but I got a radio play.

If you do go, be sure to find a seat where you can see.

Eurydice

By Sarah Ruhl.  Directed by Missy Cross.  A Secretly Women Productions presentation.  On stage at Studio 16 through June 3, 2011.  Visit http://www.ticketstonight.ca for tickets.  Visit the group’s Facebook page for more information.

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