SMC Players Present “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl
This fall, the SMC Players will present “Eurydice” written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Dr. Kate Roark, Professor of Drama and Speech and Director of the SMC Theatre Program. Set in the 1950s, Ruhl uses a young married couple to tell the story of an ancient Greek myth about love, family, and the underworld. We sat down with Dr. Roark and Savanna Daniels, who is playing the role of Eurydice, to learn more about the production. Performances will be offered on October 24 – 26 at 7 p.m. and 27 at 2:30 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium on Spartanburg Methodist College’s campus
Interview with Dr. Roark:
Q: Why did you choose Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice” as the SMC Players’ fall production?
Roark: Many reasons! One reason was that it’s a play with young people. The characters themselves are young, and knowing that my actors are students, I thought it would be something that they could relate to. It’s nice to have a large number of roles that are close to the ages of the actors and have themes students can connect with – falling in love, family, loss. I also chose “Eurydice” because I find that it’s very important to have a variety of plays by different playwrights from different experiences in life – a female playwright is something new for our theatre department.
Q: What do you think people should know about this show before coming to seeing it, especially if they don’t know about the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus?
Roark: There is no homework required. You can just come without any background of mythology, and the story will still be understandable. Sarah Ruhl takes the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is usually told from Orpheus’s point of view of losing his wife and trying to get her back, and instead, she tells the story from the point of view of Eurydice. The audience gets to experience what Eurydice is feeling and see her perspective.
Q: What will the audience learn from watching “Eurydice?”
Roark: If you’ve ever been in love or ever want to know about being in love, this play will have something for you. It’s going to be magical, and surprising, and delightful. After the show, we hope to leave the audience talking about how we made the magic happen in terms of stage effects.
Q: What skills do students gain from being involved in theatre, even if they may not want to pursue an acting career?
Roark: Students gain lots of skills from participating in theatre that are applicable to any profession. One obvious skill is public speaking. Actors learn how to project their voices and have confidence on stage – both which come from practice. Another skill that students gain, whether they’re onstage or backstage, is teamwork. Theatre productions are one big group project. Everyone, no matter if they’re in front of the audience or behind the scenes, is getting a valuable lesson in teamwork. That’s a skill I’ve had to use in every job I’ve ever had. Bringing a play to life is a really good experience in teamwork, and at the same time, you get to be creative and put your own mark on the project.
Interview with Savanna Daniels:
Savanna Daniels, originally from Winchester, Virginia, is a sophomore at SMC. She is currently a science major with plans to pursue a career in medicine.
Q: How did you become interested in theatre?
Daniels: When I was in fifth grade, I went to see Annie in Washington, D.C., and I thought it was the coolest thing. I wanted to be onstage and be the main character.
Q: How does the titular role of Eurydice compare to any past roles you have played?
Daniels: It’s a lot more pressure, I would say, to have to carry the name and be that character. I feel more weight to put on a good role and do a good job.
Q: For those unfamiliar with “Eurydice,” how would you describe it?
Daniels: It is a modern take on a classic plot – a very new age version on a typical love story. Ruhl changes up the original myth by telling the story from Eurydice’s perspective.
Q: How does the story from Eurydice’s point of view differ from that original myth that the play is based on, then?
Daniels: It’s more in-depth of look at what Eurydice is going through with her husband and her father, versus just hearing the story, watching it happen and it being over. It’s more personal. The audience gets to experience what Eurydice is thinking and feeling. When Eurydice has to make a life altering decision, the audience is right there with her on the journey.
Q: How has being part of theatre helped you in other areas of your life, such as other classes and your personal life?
Daniels: Being involved in theatre has made me more outgoing. It’s helped with public speaking, especially in my job. It’s helped me build confidence, learning how to approach people without being afraid, and how to speak with poise.
Q: For other students who are interested in theatre, what are some other opportunities for them here at SMC?
Daniels: SMC has a very active drama club. Even if you don’t want to be onstage performing, you can still be involved with backstage production – lighting, sounds, makeup, costume design. The club also takes trips to see other plays in the area.
SMC has an improv club as well. If you have a sense of humor and you like to perform, you’re welcome to join no matter what your skill level is. We have performances every couple of months. We don’t have pre-scripted lines or anything. It’s a lot of coming up with what to say on the spot and trying to be funny.
Q: Back to “Eurydice,” do you have any final comments about the play?
Daniels: Come see the show this week!
“Eurydice” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French lnc, a Concord Theatricals Company. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door.
Foreground L to R: Yiam Addison and Savanna Daniels; background L to R: Curtis Shirkey, Josh Belcher, Aron Vaugh