Thursday, February 16, 2017

A tale of love and loss in Tanghalang Pilipino’s Eurydice

Tanghalang Pilipino is quick to point that their upcoming production of Eurydice, running from February 17, 2017 up to March 5, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), is not a love story. It is a story about love (and loss), instead.

A Filipino adaptation by Guelan Larca of Sarah Ruhl’s play of the same name, Eurydice is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus told from the perspective of his doomed lover/wife Eurydice. The myth tells the story of Orpheus's failed attempt to retrieve his deceased wife from the depths of the underworld. In the play, a new layer is added with Sarah Ruhl's creation of a new character: Eurydice's father. His presence brings new insight as to why Orpheus/Orfeo looks back before he has left the underworld, thus losing Eurydice forever.

Lhorvie Nuevo and Marco Viaña

The cast is led by Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company’s Lhorvie Nuevo playing the title role and Marco Viaña portraying her lover Orfeo. Joining the two are guest actors Audie Gemora and Juliene Mendoza alternating as the Father, and Alfritz Blanche as the Big Stone. The rest of TP's Actors Company complete the cast.

Loy Arcenas does double duty as the director and set designer. Serving as assistant directors are Tanghalang Pilipino Actors Company’s Antonette Go and Joshua Tayco. Rounding up the production staff are Barbie Tan-Tiongco for lighting design and technical direction, Teresa Barrozo for sound design, and James Reyes for costume design.

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl caps Tanghalang Pilipino’s 30th Season with the theme of #Transformance.

I’ve encountered the myth of Orpheus at least twice before. The one that has left a lasting impact on me was the retelling of the myth in The Sandman Special: Song of Orpheus written by Neil Gaiman, penciled by Bryan Talbot and inked by Mark Buckingham released way back in 1991. In this issue, the myth was retold within The Sandman setting with Orpheus being the son of Morpheus (Dream) and Calliope. The outcome of this issue had major repercussions in the remainder of the series’ run. This issue is included in The Sandman Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections, released by Vertigo Comics, which can be found in fine bookstores/comic book shops in here.

I consider it a great coincidence when I bumped into Orpheus just recently when I received a copy of Orphée, the latest album from Academy Award nominated composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. The album, released by Deutsche Grammophon, is inspired by the various retelling of the myth ranging from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Jean Cocteau’s film Orphée. Listening to the album constantly for the past few weeks, I’m struck by the haunting sound created by the combination of acoustic and electronic instruments along with that of the shortwave radio.

It remains to be seen how Eurydice that I’ve yet to see can somehow connect to the comic and the album. Who knows but the play may actually be worlds apart from both. This only goes to show how timeless the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice is and how it continues to inspire and mesmerize people even after thousands of years since it was first told.

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl
February 17-March 5, 2017 | Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater)

Ticket prices:
P1500 | P1000
50% discount for students
20% discount for senior citizens, PWD, government and military personnel

For inquiries:
Tanghalang Pilipino 832-1125 local 1620-21, 822-2920
Lorelei Celestino (0915) 607-2275, (0908) 894-1384
CCP Box Office 832-3704
TicketWorld 891-9999

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