ArtsCenter Stage
@ The ArtsCenter
Through May 23

If we call playwright Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice a poetic reimagining of Ovid’s cryptic tale of art, loss and love beyond death, it’s worth remembering that a wide array of aesthetics and behaviorsfrom Edmund Spenser to, say, Patti Smithcan be considered poetry.

In her valedictory production, Emily Ranii reframes Ruhl’s elliptical text at times in the more sarcastic modes of the Transformations, poet Anne Sexton’s acerbic reinterpretations of the Brothers Grimm. It takes a bit of dying to transform Jeri Lynn Schulke’s Eurydice from a bit of a twitthe happy, inarticulate good wife, paralyzed in all desires besides the “correct” one to a musician who doesn’t seem all that great a matchinto a character able to express the beginnings of poetic insights.

It’s significant that Eric Swenson’s Orpheus and Mark Filiaci’s tender, grieving Father (who looks out from the underworld through designer Tori Ralston’s fancifully animated scrims) find those depths before the title character does. Meanwhile, John Allore’s boorish, compelling Nasty Interesting Man and Lord of the Underworld implores Eurydice to complete him.

A trio of peevish stones (Julie Oliver, Jeff Aguiar and Kelly Doyle) provides comic relief as Ranii’s reading leaves us with a bouquet of question marks about human agency, language and the true nature of love. Recommended.