A love letter to paternal and eternal love

Hamline theatre returns this fall to perform the tragic love story “Eurydice.”

Jason Elyea-Wheeler, Life Reporter

Hamline Theatre opened their 2022-23 season with a bold reimagining of the classic Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice. 

The story follows two lovers, a singer songwriter and his beloved wife who tragically passed away. In an attempt to get her back he goes into the Underworld to retrieve her soul. However, he must return her under the condition that when she follows him back, he mustn’t look back or else she would be condemned for all time in the Underworld.

The retelling of the tragedy follows the perspective of Eurydice. From her travel to the Underworld to finding her father who teaches her to remember her name and embrace her in eternal love. 

“With this play, in addition to revisiting and remembering a centuries old love story, we celebrate fathers,” said Laura Dougherty, director of Eurydice and assistant professor of theatre arts. “Helping us remember where we come from, how it fuels us to move forward. May we have many love stories in our lives”

Even with the production being delayed due to COVID-19, the company showed no sign of disappointment or rust. It is a testament to the spirit of young artists and their need to create for an audience. All the students associated with the production did not waver when faced with COVID-19, and went on to perform four incredible performances. All should be proud.

The audience was greeted with an empty stage and beautifully constructed two story set. Bronze piping shined with age underneath black charcoal platforms and beams. Acoustic music played accompanied with a mournful singer faded to silence as the lights went down and the lovers took the stage. 

The roles of Orpheus and Eurydice were acted superbly by juniors Kyra Richardson and Nathaniel Brelsford. Integral to the story and the audience’s investment in their tragic fate, both actors worked together seamlessly to create the intimacy and love between the characters believable and beautiful.

As the play progressed the audience was introduced to several other characters. Walker Embser-Herbert played the role of Her Father with maturity and poise. This character’s struggle was beneath the surface of the play, but was deeply palpable in scenes of tenderness in fatherhood.

The underworld would not be the realm of the dead without its ruler. Senior and Oracle member Anika Besst assumed the role of Nasty Interesting Man and Lord of the Underworld and took it to rock and roll meets David Bowie in Alice in Wonderland levels. They masterfully embodied the intrigue and creepiness of the character.

Not alone in the underworld, a Greek tragedy is not complete without its chorus. Known as the Stones, they bore witness to tragedy and enforced the rules of the dead. “Throughout the show the stones ‘echo’ or overlap certain words or phrases said by other residents of the underworld,” said First-year Maria Garcia who played Little Stone. “In my opinion, it really solidifies the stones as a chorus and adds an extra layer and purpose to the scenes we are present in.”

An aspect of any production that is often overlooked, but would be completely different without it is the lighting of a show. Student lighting designer senior Nolan Sherburne created the atmosphere of Eurydice for his senior project. 

“Designing the lighting for Eurydice was an exciting challenge. This show is so full of emotions, exploring how we experience loss,” Sherburne said. “I kept asking myself ‘how can I display loss through lighting?’ Through many hours of trial and revision, I created something that I believe showcases the emotions written into this play.”

For more information on Hamline Theatre, visit the Theatre and Dance page on hamline.edu and follow them @hamlinetheatre on instagram.