Live theatre returns to campus with Ruhl’s Eurydice

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Photos taken during rehearsals for Eurydice, opening Nov. 16 (Courtesy Performing Arts Program)

By Reem Mugharbel

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – The American University of Sharjah’s Performing Arts Program returns to live theater in November, though with pandemic-related limitations, when it presents an Absurdist, Expressionist version of Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl.

The program runs on seven nights in the Arts Building Rotunda, Nov. 16-19 and 21-23, starting at 7 p.m. each night.

According to director and Performing Arts Coordinator Professor Anthony Tassa, the play reintroduces the story of Orpheus through Eurydice’s perspective. Ruhl’s work, he said in a September interview via email, emphasizes mystical and supernatural elements. “This by no means will be a realistic world that we are creating,” Tassa said. “Layers of dreamlike elements, nonsensical events and responses will be ever present.” He added that it is the task of the director and designers “to fully explore all of these elements as we stage the piece.”

Tassa acknowledged that while the program is enthusiastic about the return to live theatre, pandemic-related safety precautions, such as social distancing, are affecting the performance. The size of the cast and crew is limited, he noted, and each show’s audience will be limited to 50 seats, with tickets only for the AUS community.

The show will involve 20 students and two faculty members besides Tassa: Assistant Professor James Gross as scenic and lighting designer and technical director; and Assistant Professor Isabella Tavares as costume and makeup designer