Professors combine talents in play's world premiere
July 18, 2005
A playwright, composer, and actor from Virginia Tech have collaborated for a world premiere event in Edinburgh, Scotland. Patricia Raun, head of the Department of Theatre Arts, is the lone performer in “Eurydice,” a one-woman play by internationally-acclaimed Virginia Tech English professor Thomas Gardner. Alan Weinstein, also a Virginia Tech professor and noted cellist, has composed the original score and will accompany the production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. “Eurydice” runs August 8-10 in the Greyfriars Kirk House.
“Eurydice” is a one-woman play chronicling the character’s emotional journey of coming to terms with her husband’s death. She retraces their life together through memories, finally finding liberation and strength within herself.
In “Eurydice,” Gardner shows how poetry can “bring a person from death to life” by using the metaphor of the mythic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, where the poet Orpheus ventures into the underworld to save his beloved Eurydice from death, only to fail at the last moment.
Other Virginia Tech faculty contributing to the production of “Eurydice,” include David Johnson and Randy Ward, both faculty in the Department of Theatre Arts. Johnson worked with Raun as an acting coach while Ward served as a lighting consultant for the production.
Raun first discovered the similarities between poetry and theater when auditing one of Gardner's classes in 2002. What Raun learned was "how to enter a poem - an experience I had had as an actress when playing characters onstage, but certainly had never felt while sitting in a classroom full of students reading poetry." The collaboration of Raun and Gardner during the 2004 Theatre Arts Department production of "ear, and I and silence" ultimately led to the production of "Eurydice."
“Eurydice” performance dates at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe coincide with Raun's presentation, developed from "ear, and I and silence," for the Voice and Speech Trainer's Association (VASTA) in Glasgow, Scotland, on the similarities between the process of writing and interpreting poetry and the techniques she teaches in acting and voice classes.
An American debut of "Eurydice" will be a part of Virginia Tech's Department of Theatre Arts' New Play Festival in February 2006. Working with the Minneapolis Playwright's Center's New Plays for Campus Stages Program, the festival will feature a play by a new voice in American theater as well as readings by other young and emergent playwrights working in the field.
Thomas Gardner is available for interviews during the week of Aug. 1-5. Patricia Raun and Alan Weinstein are available for interviews until July 26.
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