COVID-19 and crunch timelines closed the curtains on “Eurydice”

   The curtains closed prematurely on “Eurydice.” 

   Granite Bay Theatre planned to perform “Eurydice,” in Feb. 2022. “Eurydice” retells the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus from the perspective of the titular heroine, whereas the original myth focuses on Orpheus’ journey to the underworld to retrieve his deceased wife. 

   “It was heartbreaking… I’ve never had to cancel a show,”  theater teacher and director Zachary Magan said, “and to have to cancel a show with kids? That’s horrible.”

   Emme Danielson, sophomore, was to be the student director of “Eurydice,” and was one of the first to learn of Magan’s eventual decision to cancel the show.   

   Both timing and COVID-19 itself led to the play’s eventual cancellation. 

   “‘Hadestown’ is a musical that’s really famous right now, and it’s all based off of the same story. So that’s (why I chose “Eurydice,” which is also) bittersweet… with death being very prevalent right now with COVID,” Magan said.

   Preparation for “Eurydice” was concurrent with preparation for “Mamma Mia!,” a musical planned for Mar. 2022, although “Mamma Mia!” is being worked on during the school day. 

   “It was going to be a lot to handle both shows at once,” Danielson said.

Were we even going to have the cast members there? Could we even have the audience in there?”

— Zachary Magan, theater teacher and director

  Additionally, “Eurydice” was a student-run extracurricular, with practices starting right after school and ending at approximately 4:45 p.m. on most days. Danielson estimated that about 15 hours had been spent on “Eurydice.” 

   When “Eurydice” was canceled, “we had gotten a little bit farther than halfway through the… stage blocking,” Danielson said. “A few cast members had memorized their lines, but other than that, we hadn’t got very far.We got kind of lucky.”

   According to Magan, Theatre also spent around $1000 for the rights to the show and for advertising posters.

   “(There were) running issue(s) for a few weeks that we had brought up a couple of times,” Danielson said, “but Mr. Z (Magan) made the overall call to cut it off.”

   However, the cancellation of “Eurydice” lessened the stress experienced by cast members who were balancing roles in both productions.

  “I was like, ‘Whooo!’ I was really happy about it because less work for me. I’m okay with it being canceled,” senior and set builder Devin Madden said “It is such a shame that other people can’t do what they’ve been practicing for.”

Photo courtesy of Emme Danielson

   Freshman Evie Armour, who was new to the Theatre program but got cast as the eponymous Eurydice after auditions and callbacks in December, had memorized the play’s script over winter break. 

   “I was honestly really sad (about the cancellation) because I was excited about working with people and to have the show,” Armour said, “but also, I’ve never… done this before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.”

   However, Armour noted the difficulties of balancing both productions and of rehearsing when cast members, including senior Gracie Hollwager, who had the role of ‘Father’ in “Eurydice,” got Covid-19 and had to miss multiple weeks of school. 

   “Earlier, we were doing ‘Clue’ (a play that Theatre put on in November), we got tested every week to have our masks off,” Danielson said. “But other than that, you’d have masks on, and right now you always have to have your mask on, even if you get tested negative.” 

   Masks pose challenges to the theater program because voice projection, facial expressions, and being able to hear clearly are important onstage. Understudies also must be well-prepared if main cast members contract COVID-19. 

   “Were we even going to have the cast members there? Could we even have the audience in there?” Magan said. “Is there enough room for the audience? Are staff going to be gone because of COVID? Will they be able to supervise? There was just so many variables.”

   Still the curtains will open eventually.

  Danielson plans to produce “Eurydice” in the 2022-2023 school year, but start auditions in October or November rather than December to eliminate scheduling conflicts with other projects.

   “The kids are going to do the exact same… (production next year) if they want to,” Magan said. “Everyone’s going to be coming back to do the play, and we want it to happen.”