Major Production 2008/2009


McMaster University School of the Arts
Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice

The Theatre & Film Studies program at McMaster has become known in recent years for thought provoking productions composed through a collaboration of undergraduate students and professors.  This year’s major production, which opens on Friday November 14th in Robinson Memorial Theatre, is no exception. 

Starting from Sarah Ruhl’s acclaimed play Eurydice, which the New York Times described as a having “some of the subliminal potency of music, the head-scratching surprise of a modernist poem and the cockeyed allure of a surrealist painting” the McMaster team has created a whimsical, surreal and profoundly theatrical reflection on choice, loss and memory.  Ruhl’s play retells the ancient Greek story of Orpheus, the virtuoso musician who can rescue his wife from the Underworld only if he resists the urge to glance backward to see that she is following him.  In Ruhl’s version of the story, the centre of interest is Eurydice, who must choose whether to follow her new husband out of the Underworld or continue the voyage of discovery she has started there.

McMaster students have used the play as the basis for their own exploration of choice, loss and the relationship of memory and love, working through novel acting choices as well as designing costumes, lights, soundscapes and multimedia to bring the worlds of the living and the dead to the McMaster stage.  In keeping with the Theatre & Film Studies program’s emphasis on using dramatic performance as a vehicle for launching public discussions of contemporary issues , post-show talk backs will be launched by interdisciplinary groups of McMaster researchers. 

On  Wednesday Nov. 19th Dr. Steven Brown, from the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, Dr. Susan Fast, from the Department of English and Cultural Studies and Dr. Travis Kroeker, from Religious Studies will open a post-show discussion with the audience around the theme “ Virtuosos and Common Mortals.” 

On Thursday Nov. 20th discussion on the theme “Human Relationships and the Dilemmas of Choice” will be introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Gedge, of the Department. of Philosophy, Dr. Lisa Schwartz, who holds the Arnold L. Johnson Chair in Health Care Ethics and Dr. Chris Sinding of the School of Social Work and the  Department. of Health, Aging and Society.

Performances will take place in Robinson Memorial Theatre (Chester New Hall 103) as follows:
Thurs. Nov. 13th at 8:00pm - Preview
Friday Nov. 14th and Saturday Nov. 15th at 8:00 pm
Wednesday Nov. 19th to Friday Nov. 21st at 8:00pm
Saturday Nov. 22 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for non-students and can be reserved by calling the School of the Arts at  905-525-9140 Ext. 24246


Orpheus - Duncan Thompson

Eurydice - Alison O'Neill

Father - Nick Davies

Grandmother - Monica Cairney

Interesting Man - Geoff Hymers

Lord of the Underworld - Jim Molloy

Stone - Kat McGrath

Stone - Carlyn Christian

Stone - Mallory Greene

Dates and Times

Preview Show Thursday, Nov. 13th at 8:00pm
Opening Night Friday, Nov. 14th at 8:00pm
  Saturday, Nov. 15th at 8:00pm
  Wednesday, Nov. 19th at 8:00pm
  Thursday, Nov. 20th at 8:00pm
  Friday, Nov. 21st at 8:00pm
Closing Night Saturday, Nov. 22 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm



ALL OTHER DATES: $10 for students, $15 for non-students!