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Eurydice
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Theater 34.2 (2004) 36-67



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Eurydice

This play is for my father.
David Andrew McMahon and Laura Heisler in Eurydice, directed by Richard Corley. Madison Repertory Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin, 2003. Photo: Brent Nicastro
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Figure 1
David Andrew McMahon and Laura Heisler in Eurydice, directed by Richard Corley. Madison Repertory Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin, 2003. Photo: Brent Nicastro
[End Page 36]

Characters

EURYDICE
HER FATHER
ORPHEUS
A CHORUS OF STONES
        BIG STONE
        LITTLE STONE
        LOUD STONE
These characters should be double-cast:
A NASTY INTERESTING MAN (called MAN)
A CHILD (LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD)
EURYDICE'S GRANDMOTHER (THE FATHER'S MOTHER)
OLD WOMAN (THE VORACIOUS MOTHER OF THE CHILD) [End Page 37]

Set

The set contains a raining elevator, a water pump, some rusty exposed pipes, an abstracted River of Forgetfulness, and an old-fashioned glow-in-the-dark globe.

Notes

EURYDICE and ORPHEUS should be played as though they are a little too young and a little too in love. They should resist the temptation to be "classical."
The underworld should resemble the world of Alice in Wonderland more than it resembles Hades.
The STONES should be played as though they are nasty children at a birthday party. They might be played by children.
The play should be performed without an intermission.

First Movement

Scene 1

A young man—ORPHEUS—and a young woman—EURYDICE. They wear swimming outfits from the 1950s. ORPHEUS makes a sweeping gesture with his arm, indicating the sky.
EURYDICE
All those birds?
He nods. They make a quarter turn, and he makes a sweeping gesture.
EURYDICE
And—the sea! When?
ORPHEUS opens his hands.
EURYDICE
Now? It's mine already?
ORPHEUS nods.
EURYDICE
Wow.
They kiss. He indicates the sky.
EURYDICE
Surely not—surely not the sky and the stars too.
ORPHEUS nods.
EURYDICE
That's very generous.
ORPHEUS nods.
EURYDICE
Perhaps too generous?
ORPHEUS shakes his head.
EURYDICE
Thank you.
Now—walk over there. Don't look at me.
ORPHEUS walks away from her.
EURYDICE
Now—stop!
He stops.
She runs toward him and jumps in his arms.
He doesn't quite catch her and they fall down together.
She crawls on top of him and kisses his eyes.
EURYDICE
What are you thinking about?
ORPHEUS
Music.
EURYDICE
How can you think about music? You either hear it or you don't.
ORPHEUS
I'm hearing it, then.
EURYDICE
Oh.
(Pause.)
I read a book today.
ORPHEUS
Did you?
EURYDICE
Yes. It was very interesting.
ORPHEUS
That's good.
EURYDICE
Don't you want to know what it was about?
ORPHEUS
Of course. [End Page 38]
EURYDICE
There were—stories—about people's lives—how some come out well—and others come out badly.
ORPHEUS
Do you love the book?
EURYDICE
Yes—I think so.
ORPHEUS
Why?
EURYDICE
It can be interesting to see if other people—like dead people who wrote books—agree or disagree with what you think.
ORPHEUS
Why?
EURYDICE
Because it makes you—a larger part of the human community. It had very interesting arguments.
ORPHEUS
Oh. And arguments that are interesting are good arguments?
EURYDICE
Well—yes.
ORPHEUS
I didn't know an argument should be interesting. I thought it should be right or wrong.
EURYDICE
Well, these particular arguments were very interesting.
ORPHEUS
Maybe you should make up your own thoughts. Instead of reading them in a book.
EURYDICE
I do. I do think up my own thoughts.
ORPHEUS
I know you do. I love how you love books. Don't be mad.
Pause.
ORPHEUS
I made up a song for you today.
EURYDICE
Did you!?
ORPHEUS
Yup. It's not interesting or not-interesting. It just—is.
EURYDICE
Will you sing it for me?
ORPHEUS
It has too many parts.
EURYDICE
Let's go in the water.
They start walking, arm in arm, on extensive unseen boardwalks, toward the water.
ORPHEUS
Wait—remember this melody.
He hums a bar of melody.
EURYDICE
I'm bad at remembering melodies. Why don't you remember it?
ORPHEUS
I have eleven other ones in my head, making for a total of twelve. You have it?
EURYDICE
Yes. I think so.
ORPHEUS
Let's hear it.
She sings the melody.
She misses a few notes...