The Eurydice Project

First Written for The Reviews Hub

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The Eurydice Project – Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Writer: Joanna Crawley

Director: Lee Wilson

Composer: Jane Deasy

Choreographer: Monika Bieniek

Project Arts Centre is hosting a radical retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth: The Eurydice Project. This time the story is told from Eurydice’s perspective. In the original myth she was an oak nymph, a child of Apollo, who wed the adoring musician Orpheus. She was a daughter of nature, at home in woods and forests. This is shown in the play by her wildness and freedom. Unconstrained by human society she is feisty, intelligent and speaks freely. Dressed in browns and earth tones with mud patterns on her limbs when she moves it is more like a dance than footsteps. In this version Orpheus is half God; returning to Thrace after his father’s death to take over the kingdom and heal the rifts that war and neglect have caused. However on his way to Thrace he bumps into Eurydice. They quickly fall in love and the story grows out of their love affair. Is it possible for a creature of the woods to adjust to city life and should Orpheus even ask this of her?

Joanna Crawley’s script investigates relationships and the nature of being a woman in modern day Ireland. Going behind the scenes The Eurydice Project opens up the doors of a male dominated society to show how women – and men – are both left suffering and confused. This version of Eurydice and Orpheus are very recognisable, as they experience loss and lack of trust. Hades rounds off the cast in a surprisingly humorous way. Dressed in purple and red velvet he is out to make trouble. A former flame of Eurydice he is not content to sit back as she pursues happiness with another. Incorporating live music, video, lighting and prose to create a visually intriguing performance with the musicians adding atmosphere and contributing to the comedy throughout. The three person cast worked very well together giving each other a chance to shine. India Mullen was sparky and as Eurydice and Michael – David McKernan and Barry McKiernan were well cast as Orpheus and Hades respectively.

The Eurydice Project skewers relationships and brings out their turning points as they love, fight and struggle to reconcile themselves to their life together. The way this is done is startlingly real; moving from tender to painful. It is a wonderful way to reinvigorate an ancient myth and use it to shine a light on modern society. Full of rage, music, fury and the cold calm of political decision making The Eurydice Project is a highly watchable and powerful piece of theatre.