nytheatre.com review by Heather Lee Rogers
March 28, 2013
Andrew Dahl, Sonia Villani and Tatyana Kot in a scene from Eurydice's Dream | Alan Roche.
Blessed Unrest’s original creation Eurydice’s Dream is a powerful abstract journey. There is far more dance, emotion, movement and skin onstage than text. I love the physical ingenuity and visual artistry of this company’s work, and this show lived up to my high expectations.
For Eurydice’s Dream, they wove together the Greek mythological characters of Echo, Narcissus, Orpheus, Eurydice and Orca. They also throw in the archetypal characters of America and Foreigner and then include an amazing narrative about a glass eye from a story called “Look Back” by Teddy Jefferson. Most of the characters’ names are never mentioned in the play! So it really helps to read the program where brief synopses of the myths are laid out with the characters’ names to get a little context for what they’re riffing on. Whereas often in theater, you safely begin with more narrative and then deconstruct it; in Eurydice’s Dream the narrative of the myths is more literally revealed in the latter half of the performance.
But what I latched onto in the beginning was just how beautiful, intense and well-executed everything was. The physical energy onstage is incredible. There are always bodies moving in creative and captivating ways. It’s deliciously overwhelming to try to take it all in. The play is also full of passionate lovers, it’s almost always about love — prepare to see a lot of sex. The performers really go there, this is not theater for the shy. There are also many impressive tango numbers (choreographed and performed by Sonia Villani who plays Eurydice).
Perhaps the biggest reason to see this play is to behold how strong each member of the ensemble is individually and how bravely they work together. Kudos to Andrew Dahl, Marco De Ornella, Jason Griffin, Tatyana Kot, Darrell Stokes, Jessica D. Williams and Villani. Each of the seven actors in the ensemble has a truly formidable presence. Their bodies are ridiculously dexterous and they deftly handle each other’s bodies like magical extensions of their own. In addition, they speak a wide range of languages. Perhaps because the play was so movement/dance driven, moments when the actors did have text were particularly striking.
Although I would have appreciated a little more narrative to grab onto earlier in the play, I also respect how much director Jessica Burr trusted the abstractness of the piece and just went there without handholding or apology. It’s exciting to see a theater company just trust their audience and throw out a challenge like that. It’s also, most basically, a dream play. I think that was the most enjoyable aspect of the whole thing for me. It is a unique experience to be let into the non-literal dream-world of these mythical characters, and once there, to be allowed to share the beauty and pain of their dreams.