The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE mythological production to highlight human emotions

By James Nwankpah/ne news editor

NE Campus is revisiting one of the more famous tales of Greek mythology with Eurydice by playwright Sarah Ruhl.

The play tells the story of Eurydice, wife of the mythological demigod Orpheus, who has traveled to the underworld to retrieve his dead wife and bring her back to the land of the living.

Action centers on Eurydice’s struggle to decide whether to leave with her husband or stay in the underworld with her father, an aspect added to the myth by Ruhl.

NE drama associate professor Julie Gale, the play’s director, chose it because it contains what she called “three universal human emotions” that everyone can relate to: death, grief and love.

Ashley Koeneke (left) and Stephan Devereaux (right) show universal emotions while fighting against the underworld in the Greek mythological play Eurydice Nov. 19-22 on NE. Lydia Ragalado/The Collegian
Ashley Koeneke (left) and Stephan Devereaux (right) show universal emotions while fighting against the underworld in the Greek mythological play Eurydice Nov. 19-22 on NE. Lydia Ragalado/The Collegian

“The whole play is about how memory makes us who we are and how our relationships with people are tied up in our memories of them,” she said. “But it’s also about how we as human beings have a really hard time letting go, especially with death.”

Gale described the play’s cast as “a very smart cast, very attentive and very collaborative with each other. They are also very intentional about telling the story because it could be really important to certain audience members who might recently have gone through a loss or recently have gone through challenges with love and human relationships.”

NE students Ryan Westbrook and Katheryn Lambert play Big Stone and Little Stone, two of the choral characters whose purpose is to convey to the audience not only what is going on in the play but also how they should react to different parts.

“The stones are one of the first things you see in the underworld, and it’s our job to kind of establish the rules of the underworld and tell you what’s going on,” Westbrook said.

Playing the role of a stone is both easy and hard, Lambert said.

“It’s easy because the stones are pretty simple,” she said. “But we’re supposed to be emotionless, not having any attachment, really, to what’s going on but also have these really big reactions.”

Finding the balance between those two proves to be an interesting challenge, Lambert said.

NE student Ashley Koeneke, who plays the tale’s heroine Eurydice, said she does not find too much trouble in relating to her character, using her own experience to portray her role.

“For me, I haven’t had many deaths in my life, but I can relate to it when I lost my grandmother,” she said. “I know how much, if I were to go to the underworld and see her, I wouldn’t want to go back to the overworld. And that’s the same here.

Eurydice sees her father … but when her husband comes down to save her, she doesn’t want to go. She wants to stay.”

NE student Jake Blakeman plays Eurydice’s father but had to find another inspiration to help him grasp the ethos of his character.

The director’s daughters visited the set and seeing how important they are to her helped him get into the role, he said.

“Well, I am not a father. I’m 20 years old,” Blakeman said. “When I grew up, I always wanted to be a father. Not yet, when I’m ready. But the relationship isn’t just a father and daughter. It’s a loved one. It’s someone you don’t want to leave.”

In the story, the father gets left behind, but he lets Eurydice go, and that’s a theme people can relate to. When you love something, let it go, Blakeman said.

“It’s different for a father and daughter than it is for two sisters,” he said. “And trying my best to emulate that, understand that and respect that is difficult, but I’m doing my best to do it.”

Performances are free for all TCC students, faculty and staff. Tickets will cost $3 for non-TCC students and senior citizens and $6 for the general public.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Nov. 19-22 with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on the 22nd in the NFAB theater.

Call the box office at 817-515-6687 for reservations.

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