Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Sarah Ruhl is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern American playwrighting. Her chief offense, which is rather common today but which she takes to extremes, is valuing aesthetic pleasurability over genuine organic storytelling. It's almost remarkable that she could take one of the most fullproof love stories of all time--that of Eurydice, whose beloved husband travels to the deepest regions of Hell to recover her--and turn it into the equivalent of an art house chick flick, complete with moments of weepy melodrama and post-mortem familial reconcilation. But she seems to say that it doesn't matter, because there are so many pretty things to look at: running water...illuminated letters...a chorus of cranky stones! It doesn't help that Ruhl's writing style alternates between extremely heightened language and almost unintelligible gawkings, or that the underwhelming cast has no clue how to perform it. After The Clean House, which I also loathed, I was told by many that it was the Lincoln Center production that was at fault and not the playwright's text. After Eurydice, I know better. Ruhl may have hoodwinked the MacArthur Foundation and some of New York's best companies, but never again me.

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