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Live Theater PREview: Hubris and Loyalty - by Alexa Chipman

Main Stage West’s ‘Eurydice’ is an inventive retelling of the Greek myth, empowering characters with unexpected choices and relatable personalities. Sarah Ruhl’s contemplative play explores Eurydice’s relationship with her father and the tragic tale of lost love. A water feature of the forgetful river Lethe meanders through Ruhl’s tale of missed connections and fleeting bliss.

Intricate lighting design by Missy Weaver and Doug Faxon’s mesmerizing soundscape weave what artistic director Elizabeth Craven describes as “something completely different” from what is expected in the intimate theater, guiding the audience on a magical exploration through realms apart from time.

Director Chris Ginesi’s first impression of the language is striking. “At times, it’s jazz, sparkling with life and love, at times it’s the blues, reveling in loss and memories of the past and what might have been, but most of all, it’s a love letter to humanity.”

Brianna Dinges portrays a courageous Eurydice beside Taylor Diffenderfer’s Orpheus and an imaginative performance by John Craven as the Father, whom she encounters in the Underworld. Ginesi assures that the play “transcends the myth we all think we know, and breathes a new life into the story…an impressive and immersive experience.”

‘Eurydice’ by Sarah Ruhl, May 11 – June 2

Main Stage West, 104 N. Main Street, Sebastopol

Tickets: $15-30, Thursdays Pay What You Will (707) 823-0177

Estranged brothers attempt to collaborate over a screenplay in ‘True West’ at Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, their disparate personalities clashing toward a wild denouement. Mingling dark comedy with grounded drama, Director Christopher Nevin Johnston calls it “deceptively simple” with actors who have “the ability to shift quickly between pathos and comedy.” He has been working with Rusty Thompson and Robert Zelenka to hone tone and pacing, finding a balance between wit and sorrow, discussing scenes until they flow naturally, conveying the rich layers of Sam Shepard’s subtext.

Yave Guzman’s claustrophobic, desaturated set design conveys the brothers’ inability to deviate from predefined paths, adding “to the level of anxiety that occurs in the play”. Johnston describes a building momentum within the environment. “By the end of the play, they both appear as caged animals trying to get free”.

‘True West’ by Sam Shepard, May 18-27

Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Boulevard, Cloverdale,

Tickets: $12-25 (707) 894-2214

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