Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homegrown Eurydice: Textbook Sophomore Effort

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 1:05 PM

If Boise suffers from anything artistically, it's the same thing it suffers from politically: an aged and entrenched establishment that leaves little room for the new and bold.

In March of this year, Black Linen Productions debuted with Patrick Marber's play Closer. Presented stageless at The Linen Building—complete with deadly serious performances by actors with dubious British accents—Closer was an earnest effort, hamstrung by the youth of the cast and the company as a whole.

The company rebranded itself as Homegrown Theater for its second show, Eurydice. More than just a renaming, Eurydice signals a sign of the company's evolution. Playing at The Linen Building through Thursday, Oct. 13, Eurydice is a far more sophisticated and mature effort.

The story is playwright Sarah Ruhl's modern-ish reboot of the Greek Orpheus myth, set in the 1950s and told from the perspective of his wife, Eurydice. While some elements of the script are better appreciated with a solid understanding of the Greek myth, it nevertheless remains approachable for the uninitiated.

Director Janessa White blocked the show to make full use of the Linen Building space, with scenes taking place on the stage, the floor and the balcony simultaneously. She also employed a running score and projected animations depicting the descent into the underworld. The layered presentation added a rich subtext to the scenes, though the flat floor made some of the lower altitude actions difficult to see for those not in the front row.

Amela Karadza gave the standout performance of the show, playing the title role. Her cute-as-a-button depiction lent Eurydice a charming naivete that felt crucial to the character's arc.

This is not to say the show was without its flaws. Opening night featured some technical difficulties that hinted at the need for an extra tech rehearsal. Not to mention, Joel Hunter was slightly stiff in his depiction of Orpheus. Though the show dragged a little in the middle, seeing as the scene was depicting the drudgery of a timeless hell, it almost felt appropriate. Almost.

All of these issues could likely have been addressed with an extra week of rehearsals before opening—a week that might have made even the roughest edges of the show shine, and a week that a more experienced company would likely have budgeted in. And since the show will only receive three performances, it's unlikely those edges will be hammered totally flat during the run, which is unfortunate.

But rough edges and all, Eurydice reflects a company zipping past the growing pains of youth and budding with the flowers of maturity—something that can only benefit Boise's arts community.

You can catch Eurydice tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 12, and Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Linen Building. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

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