The Eurydice Project – Project Arts Centre – Review
Until 1st April
Orpheus meets Eurydice while walking through the forest. She is a wild tree nymph or hamadryade as they are known. She remembers Orpheus from his youth, and he remembers her, as any young man would remember a beautiful woman. Orpheus has just returned from ten years on the Argonaut, where he has seen many battles. His father has died and he has returned to take the throne. The meeting has planted a seed that will quickly grow into love, but one that will not have a happy ending!
This is an interpretation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, written by Joanna Crawley, that takes a new slant on the fable. It removes many of the expected elements of the story and presents something quite new. It is an irreverent interpretation of the storyline, and uses a variety of media to tell the story. There are also modern, anachronistic elements thrown into this stew of ideas and images.
There are three members of the crew visible on stage at all times. Two are musicians, performing with a variety of percussion instruments along with violin and electric guitar. There is also a figure behind a laptop for the duration responsible for other elements, possibly the images. There is a steel frame at the back of the stage with a number of boards hanging from it, these are used as screens for a variety of images. There’s also a large circular screen at one side of the stage. Images of the moon are often projecting onto it, but also other elements and video. This is a proper multimedia affair, a feast for the senses.
This is a quite unusual version of Eurydice. She is played as a feral creature, living in the wilds and eating whatever she can kill. India Mullen inhabits the part, crawling on all fours and smearing blood on her arms. She seems shocked when asked to wear shoes! Hades is presented as a smooth talking drifter, who turns up to cause confusion. He is half talk-show host and half used car salesman, with a flash red suit and a wry grin! Barry McKiernan has just the right blend of duplicitous charm for it. Orpheus is somewhat conventional, the straight man of the performance who the others play off. Michael-David McKernan has one speech to win our hearts at the start of the production but it is not really his story.
There is a danger with so much happening on stage that they will over egg the pudding, and at times you hardly know where to look. It does make it difficult to concentrate on the text, which is actually very witty. If you want to see a literal interpretation of the myth, this probably isn’t for you. They use the traditional storyline as a backdrop only to tell a story of two lovers who somehow drift apart. This is a rich and at times fascinating combination of many art forms. It’s a brave and exciting new work.
Written by Joanna Crawley
Directed by Lee Wilson
Composed by Jane Deasy
Eurydice: India Mullen
Orpheus: Michael-David McKernan
Hades: Barry McKiernan
Musicians: Alex Petcu, Éna Brennan, Rachel Ní Chuinn
Set design by Ger Clancy
Costumes by Sarah Foley
Sound by Eóin Murphy
Projections by Algorithm
Choreography by Monika Bieniek
Produced by Hugh Farrell
Line Producer: Rachel Bergin
Production Manager: Barry O’Donovan
Stage Manager: Fodhla O’Brien