Eurydice in Grand Central opened last night at the TheaterLab in lower Manhattan. The impact of this intensely abstract drama was palpable through the audience, but ever so difficult to describe. No one could say what exactly was happening on stage, but every audience member was pulled in by the intensity of the action. We left confused, fascinated, speechless.
It is a work for four actresses, combining dance, music and sound with "found text". Found text means classical poetry, modern science, current magazine articles, Shakespeare and ad copy, ancient philosophy and tabloid news, in combinations that can be poignant or hilarious or both.
What makes the piece powerfully moving and successful? My guess is that it's a combination of universal themes -- the separation that confounds and oppresses so many of us -- and the stunning originality of the play's conception. But perhaps what glues it all together is the attention that has gone into every move, every word, every gesture that we see on stage. The play comes alive in each moment, and pulls us into its internal logic.
Sometimes I will listen to a melody of Dvorak or Borodin that tugs at my heart, and I think: This is so simple! Why doesn't it sound trite or sappy? Invariably there are accompaniment lines that I don't consciously hear, but that add depth to the composition. In this Eurydice, there are overlaid voices, multiple simultaneous actions on stage, and a constant counterpoint between the words of the script and the affect with which they are delivered. The effect is to reach below the surface and speak directly to our hearts.
Disclosure: My daughter, Sarah Mitteldorf, wrote and directed this piece. It is her New York debut.
Eurydice in Grand Central is at the TheaterLab, 137 W 14th St (between 6th and 7th Ave). Performances are 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM Saturday 6/16 and a 2:00 matinee Sunday 6/17. Mention OpEdNews and get two tickets for the price of one.