Cast of “Eurydice” use personal experiences to hone character development


Lynn Willis

Eurydice, played by junior theatre arts major Zoe Dean, embraces her father, played by junior theatre arts major Shane Buchheit, while the Little Stone, Big Stone and Loud Stone (theatre arts sophomore Xeleighta Bernardo, theatre arts senior Kaitlyn Lyon and management sophomore Emma Harkins) look on.

Christine Dudley, A&C Reporter

Just as Orpheus looks back at Eurydice, the cast of the upcoming Department of Theatre and Dance show, “Eurydice,” looks back at personal experiences to bring their characters to life. Inspired by the ancient Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl’s 2003 version tells the story from Eurydice’s perspective.

Junior theater education major Shane Buchheit plays Eurydice’s father, who is the only dead man in the underworld who regained his memory. He reteaches Eurydice how to read, write and emote while she visits the underworld.

“My favorite aspect of playing the father is the world that he lives in and the rules that come along with that world,” Buchheit said.

Although Buchheit doesn’t know what it’s like to be a father, he said he draws on his relationship with his grandmother to understand the relationship between Eurydice and her father.

Lynn Willis
The Lord of the Underworld, played by theatre arts sophomore Noah Wyche, stands over Eurydice, played by junior theatre arts major Zoe Dean, in Appalachian State University’s upcoming Department of Theatre and Dance production of “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl.

“She’s the most important person in my life, and I feel like the love I have for her and she has for me and my family is something very strong. It’s the strongest relationship I have with love,” Buchheit said.

Junior theater performance and political science major Jordan Matthews was cast as Orpheus, Eurydice’s singing and guitar-playing husband. Matthews said he connected with his character immediately.

“The thing that makes me very similar to Orpheus is that we’re both artists, and we both have very big hearts, and we have both at times given our heart to someone who hasn’t exactly given their heart back to us,” Matthews said.

Xel Bernardo, sophomore theater performance major, is playing Little Stone, who is the ringleader of the Stones, the nasty children of the underworld. The Stones function as the Greek chorus of the play, supplying context and moving the story along.

Bernardo said she can relate to her character because she was once a bratty child, too.

“The thing I love the most is all of the energy that I have to give to be Little Stone because she’s so all over the place,” Bernardo said.

Bernardo is also making the costume for her character because she works in the costume shop. Bernardos said she loves performing, but also enjoys makeup, hair and costume design.

Lynn Willis
Eurydice, played by junior theatre arts major Zoe Dean, and Orpheus, played by theatre arts senior Jordan Matthews, share a moment in rehearsals for the Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance’s upcoming production of “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl. The production will run Feb. 20-24 in Valborg Theatre.

“If I didn’t become an actor, I would probably pursue cosmetology,” Bernardo said.

Bernardo loves her movement in “Eurydice,” which is choreographed by Sherone Price, a dance professor at App State.

“At some point I’m rolling around, so I’m literally a rolling stone,” Bernardo laughs.

Watch a Little “rolling” Stone, a serenading Orpheus and a loving father come to life Feb. 20-24 at 7 p.m. in the Valborg Theatre. To purchase tickets, visit the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit this website.