About Eurydice

About the show: Market East to Grand Central

In September of 2011, we of Tactus Theatre Project shared Eurydice in Market East with audiences for the first time at the Philly Fringe festival. While we felt that the art we were creating was strong, we were still surprised by how much it affected those who got to see it. People wanted to talk about the piece. People discovered things about their own society through the piece. Some people even came back to see it again.

We want to take this conversation to New York City – to interact with a new audience, to bring more people into the conversation. We want to be able to share what we found and become part of the discussion that develops. Eurydice will hit the stages of New York City in mid-June of 2012 to continue to spark conversation about culture and language and what it means to live and love and maybe even die. We want people to grow through asking each other the big questions. We want this piece to grow by reaching more people and starting more discussions. We want this art to grow into new pieces that can ask our communities to keep engaging, to keep talking.

Eurydice’s story

There are numerous versions and interpretations of the Classical Greek story of Eurydice, written by numerous ancient greats, including Virgil, Plato, and Ovid. Here’s a brief synopsis of the version of the story we are using in this piece: Eurydice, an oak nymph and dancer, and Orpheus, the legendary musician, fall madly in love and are engaged to be married when Eurydice gets bitten by a venomous snake and dies. Orpheus is so distraught by her death and sings so beautifully and mournfully about it that Hades allows Orpheus  to enter the Underworld to rescue Eurydice. However, in true Hades fashion, there’s a catch: Eurydice can follow Orpheus out of the Underworld, but Orpheus cannot look back at Eurydice or she will vanish forever. Tragically, Orpheus looks back and Eurydice dies… again. The Classical texts tell the story from only Orpheus’s point of view, so many modern writers have strived to retell the tale from Eurydice’s perspective, including poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Jorie Graham, playwrights Mary Zimmerman and Sarah Ruhl, and novelist/poet Margaret Atwood. We are incredibly grateful to these artists and hope to participate in the growing rich tradition of exploring and finding new truths in this classic story.

EDIT: Want to know more about that history and how we fit into it? Try this blog post, where we link to different versions of the story of Eurydice and discuss how we chose to tell this story and why we chose to tell it this way.


As someone who is always spoken about, not someone who speaks – someone who exists entirely as a figure in the story of another – the only language she has at her disposal is that of the world around her. This is why we constructed Eurydice in Market East using only fragments of found  text; Eurydice does not yet have the recourse to self-generate language. She can only piece together bits of language and sounds she has stumbled upon, from Shakespeare to advertisements in teen magazines to the sound of an escalator. Here, trapped in her own subway station of an underworld, Eurydice finds a voice to call her own.

So what happens when you try to describe life, heartbreak, art, and existence itself with other people’s language? As Eurydice struggles to understand her story, we begin to see how our own world understands love, music, death, and all those other big questions. We see how our culture interprets – even packages – those ideas.

And that is why the inability to generate one’s own language leads to so much talking.


2 responses to “About Eurydice

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