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Eurydice production brings unconventional and acclaimed re-telling of the Orpheus myth to the Powerhouse Theater, directed by alumna Ianthe Demos, April 11-13, 2013

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- In Greek mythology, Orpheus, a poet and musical master of the lyre, falls in love with the nymph Eurydice only to have her die of a viper’s bite on their wedding day. Orpheus is so heartbroken he journeys to the underworld and persuades the god Hades to release Eurydice. But Orpheus can’t follow Hades’ requirement to not look back at his bride until she has left the underworld, and she is doomed to remain there forever. Sarah Ruhl’s play Eurydice playfully and poignantly re-tells the myth from the nymph’s perspective -- lovingly reunited with her father in the underworld, Eurydice must choose whether to return to her husband. Reviewing a 2006 production of Eurydice in the New York Times, Charles Isherwood wrote that the play, “may just be the most moving exploration of the theme of loss that the American theater has produced since the events of September 11, 2001.”

Vassar alumna Ianthe Demos will direct students in three performances of Eurydice for the Drama department on Thursday, April 11, Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, all at 8:00pm in the Powerhouse Theater. Each performance is free and open to the public, but reservations are required and seating is limited. To make reservations or get further information call the department box office at (845) 437-5599 or e-mail boxoffice@vassar.edu.

Junior Kaylene George and sophomore Kate Shelton are the assistant directors of the production, which is co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, the English, Greek and Roman Studies, and Religion departments, as well as the programs in Media Studies and Women's Studies. Demos directed Vassar students in Aristophanes' Lysistrata this past December (alums.vassar.edu/news/2012-2013/121205-demos.html). 

About the Director

Ianthe Demos is the Artistic Director of OYL (One Year Lease), a New York City-based ensemble company dedicated to creating new work, training young theater artists, and advancing international collaboration in theater. She co-founded the company in 2001 with fellow Vassar alumnae Ariane Barbanell and Jacqueline Kristel. When OYL mounted the Mark Ravenhill play pool (no water) in 2012, the New York Times remarked, “Three cheers for the small but ambitious One Year Lease Theater Company for bringing this terrific play to local shores, in a vividly acted production.”

Demos has also directed for OYL Clay Mcleod Chapman’s Teaser Cow, Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano, Ariel Dorfman’s Resistance Trilogy (Death and the Maiden, Widows, and Reader), Brendan Cowell’s Bed, Caridad Svich’s Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell that Was Once her Heart (a rave fable), PHAEDRA x 3 (Jean Racine’s Phèdre, Matthew Maguire’s Phaedra and Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love), Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and Oresteia, translated and adapted from Aeschylus by Iason Demos and Yannis Papatheodorou.

Among its many efforts OYL runs an annual theater apprentice program in northern Greece, and its ensemble members have worked with numerous theater companies internationally including the National Theater of Greece, the Sydney Theater Company, the Public, the Capitol Repertory Theater, and the Kennedy Center.

About the Playwright

Sarah Ruhl was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship in 2006, and two of her plays have been Pulitzer Prize finalists: In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, in 2010 (produced on Broadway in 2009), and The Clean House, in 2005 (also winner of The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004).

In addition to Eurydice, Ruhl’s other works include Passion Play, a cycle  (Pen American Award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play); Melancholy Play; Demeter in the City (nine NAACP Image Award nominations); Orlando; and Late: a cowboy song. They have been widely produced nationally and internationally at such venues as the Lincoln Center Theater, Goodman Theatre, Old Vic Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and Yale Repertory Theatre.

Originally from Chicago, Ruhl earned her MFA from Brown University, where she studied with Paula Vogel. In 2003, she was the recipient of the Helen Merrill Emerging Playwrights Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award. She is a member of 13P and New Dramatists and is a recent recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (www.vassar.edu).

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, March 20, 2013