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WLHS theater travels to underworld and back

WLHS theater presents Eurydice today, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.


by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Roxanne Stathos plays Eurydice and Tristan Avery plays her father.
Actors will travel through the underworld and back during West Linn High School’s newest production of “Eurydice,” which opens tonight.

The entire production is student designed and directed by senior independent study directing student Kaelyn Rushforth. This is the first time a student has directed a full-length play at West Linn High School. Rushforth said she is more than honored by the task.

“I couldn’t believe it; it’s such an honor,” she said. “When I found out I was directing, I was just jumping up and down crying. It’s been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had.”

“Eurydice” is a modern-day retelling of the classic and tragic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The night of Orpheus and Eurydice’s wedding — Eurydice dies. Her husband, Orpheus, travels to the underworld to try and get her back, but while in the underworld Eurydice reconnects with her father and is forced to make a choice between the men.

Rushforth said the production features modern-day language that is both lyrical and strange. She chose to direct and produce the play this summer because she said the first time she saw it performed it brought her to tears.

“It’s extremely beautiful and moving,” she said. “I connected so strongly with it that I wanted to put it on the stage. ‘Eurydice’ is about choices you have to make, about love and loss, and it’s about making connections with people.”

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Ian Stout is Orpheus, left, and Griffin Ollar is Lord of the Underworld.
Because of the intimate nature of the play, it will be performed in the Black Box Theatre at the school, which features risers throughout the auditorium and a stage in the middle of the floor.

Students have been working on the production since the end of September. Since then, Rushforth said she’s spent about 12 to 15 hours each week working on the play. The cast includes leads Roxanne Stathos and Ian Stout, and actors Tristan Avery, Griffin Ollar, Kate Stubblefield, Dinah Sigmund and Madeline Marshall. Rushforth also designed the set, which features the gates of hell and at one point, a river.

Rushforth’s team includes lighting designers Colby Gray and Rheid Heska-McJannet, sound designer Sammie Hatch and stage managers Rhianna Turner and India Brock.

Costume designer Kate Stubblefield designed the colorful tunics for characters that are either alive or dead in the underworld. Some characters are no longer human, but have turned to stone.

Rushforth said casting and directing her fellow students — many of whom are her good friends — has been difficult but rewarding. She even plans to study directing in college.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - 'Eurydice' is a modern day retelling of the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. “I haven’t directed anything before so this process is new to me,” she said. “At the beginning I didn’t quite know what to expect. It ended up being a lot more work than I thought, but I love it. This is my passion. ... I am fully confident that it will be a great production.”

Watch “Eurydice” today, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. The play is approximately 70 minutes long and does not have an intermission. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 students, $8 adults. West Linn High School is located at 5464 W. A St., West Linn.



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