actors in masks

Eurydice opens Nov. 12 While Eurydice touches our hearts, the masked Stones steal the show.


Something’s rocking and rolling this weekend at the Waltmar Theater — but it’s not what you think. Try the Greek Chorus of Stones in Sarah Ruhl’s play,
Eurydice
.

For those unfamiliar with the modern retelling of the Greek Orpheus myth, Eurydice, the newly-wed and newly-dead amnesiac heroine, must choose between staying with her father in the underworld and going back to her lost love. During her time in the world of the dead, she is guided by the mysterious 3 Stones: Loud Stone, Big Stone and Little Stone, who all serve as commentary and comic relief to guide the audience. Directed by Theresa Dudeck, Ph.D., instructor of
theatre
at Chapman University, the mystery of the 3 Stones is even more enhanced with the use of half-character masks.

Kayla Topp

Kayla Topp ’16 as Eurydice (Photo Dale Dudeck)

According to
Keith Johnstone
, one of the world’s most famous teachers of improvisation and mask work, half-character masks allow the expansion of the “imaginative, artistic, childlike part of the mind.” Physically, the masks are open at the bottom, allowing the speaker to still talk while being covered. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that Dudeck chooses to use half-character masks for the Stones to personify them as petrified children. Since the Stones are the longtime gatekeepers to the Underworld, their eyes are always open and always watching. Even though they change from being emotional and impulsive to being slightly more understanding, “they never lose their mischievous, childlike curiosity,” Dudeck says.

Actresses Natasha Gualy (Loud Stone), Caroline Hale (Big Stone) and Monica Furman (Little Stone) all wear similar wide-eyed masks that fully immerse them into their role as the childlike Stones. Though the masks are stuck in an eternal state of petrification, the raw emotion from the actresses can still be carried through their words and sounds.

Though the Stones clearly steal the show, the other actors within the extremely small cast are all able to equally breathe such life into the play. The tight string of music, rhythm and grief not only connects the characters of the play together, but also the audience as well. The cinematographic technology for Eurydice also strings the minimalistic set scenes together. With the help of students, alumni and friends of the Chapman community, thirty-foot projections will be used to enrich the Underworld as Eurydice struggles to understand it.

“Speak in the language of stones,” the 3 Stones croon.

Eurydice
will open at the Waltmar Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 12, and run until Sunday, Nov. 15. Advance tickets may be purchased online at
chapman.edu/tickets
or by calling 714-997-6624.

Top image: From left: Natasha Gualy ’16, Caroline Hale ’17 and Monica Furman ’17 as the 3 Stones. (By Dale Dudeck)

Michelle Yee

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