Watercolor: Scott Bradley
RUHL: I have a visual imagination, but not a three-dimensional imagination. In the original Greek myth, Eurydice gets dipped in the River of Lethe and she forgets everything. I wanted to find a contemporary metaphor of transportation. But it had to be strange. I also wanted there to be water onstage, but I wanted it to be patchy, since memory bleeds through in the way that drops of water are just partial.
BRADLEY:I lost my partner about a month before I read Eurydice. After I read it I had a dream that I met up with my partner. I was in an elevator, and I saw the elevator fill up with water. When the doors opened, it was like a big exhale of tears. I woke up and made a watercolor of what I’d seen. I sometimes do watercolor renderings of set designs, because they help me imagine the colors and the lighting.
Photo of set: Daniel Talbott appeared in Eurydice at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Photo: Ken Friedman.
RUHL: It’s pure pleasure for me to sit in a room with designers and to watch them interpret my plays. When a set is moved onstage for the first time, it’s just magic. For Eurydice, I think Scott struck a balance between the grief in the play and the beautiful, playful fairy tale that is the myth.
BRADLEY: We used a 300-gallon tank of water to flood the elevator cavity, along with pressurized rain pipes from above, so when the doors opened, it was a little six-foot-square box of storm. For me, that conveyed the physicality of crying after a horrible event. It was like unlocking a door that I could step through and experience what I was longing for, which was a conversation with the person I lost.
—As told to Nicole Allan