Eurydice Says

The North American Premiere of the Play by Elfriede Jelinek

Coming October 12-14 to the John Cullum Theater at the American Theatre for Actors, 314 West 54th Street, New York City, NY



The best is not to love

and not to be loved.


The North American Premiere of the Play by Elfriede Jelinek

Published by PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art


Most people think Eurydice is a love story. Jelinek thinks otherwise. In her trademark stream-of-consciousness style, Jelinek chops, screws and tears apart the old myth, bringing feminist theory and Freud to bear on boy bands and smartphone culture. Spoken by a chorus of women of a certain age, SHADOW. EURYDICE SAYS is a jagged, vulgar last lament on the subject of love, aging, disappearing, and death.


Translator / Gitta Honegger
Director / Jessica Rizzo
Laura Petree / Assistant Director
Ilinca Tamara Todorut / Dramaturg
An-Lin Dauber / Set Design
Elli Green / Lighting Design
Fan Zhang / Sound Design
Elizabeth Emanuel / Stage Manager
Ashley Chang / Producer
Ariel Sibert / Producer

Mary Round / A
Kathleen Dimmick / B
Mollie Collison / C
Susan Brickell / D
Cho Young Wiles / E
Josephine Pizzino / F
Arianne Recto / G
Azusa SHESHE Dance / H
Eloise Harris / I


with support from the Araca Project

The John Cullum Theater at the American Theatre for Actors, 314 West 54th Street, New York City, NY

SHOWS ON THURSDAY, 10/12 @ 8PM / FRIDAY, 10/13 @ 8PM / SATURDAY, 10/14 @ 2PM and 8PM


Dramaturg's note

Play of Mourning (Myself)


Elfriede Jelinek’s plays—strewn as page after page of block text—mount visual barricades of
written resistance against the two millennia-long tradition of European theater, a dramatic
tradition born by ancient Greek progenitors, all male. The Greek theater makers—from
playwrights to actors and theorists, from Aeschylus to Aristotle—poured rules of conduct into
beautifully constructed molds of dramatic composition. Jelinek’s Sprachflächen [“language
planes”]—these interminable masses of unrestrained, intimate flow of non-dialogic, undramatic,
frantic monologuing unaddressed to any particular interlocutor—spread over a vast verbal
territory that refuses the upstanding, climactic drama in its limitless, flat horizon of rage.

If all of Jelinek’s plays question what a play can be, Shadow. Eurydice Says, with its claws dug
into Greek mythology, wonders specifically, what can still be called tragedic, or at least tragic.
Does a woman’s death still inspire pity and fear, and if so, what kind of death? What is the
underworld today’s Eurydices descend into, and can an Orpheus follow? Will a hero entrance the
hell out of hell in the name of love?

Jessica Rizzo, the director of this production, put her ear to Jelinek’s text and heard many
women’s voices. Jelinek’s words flowing from her pen pour as vertiginously from the mouths of
nine experienced actresses: a choir, a Greek choir if you will. But a choir alone, especially an all-
female one, doesn’t amount to tragedy. In the Poetics, Aristotle recounts that tragedy was born
when the legendary Thespis, “stepped out,” whatever that means, of the choir: the dramatic
protagonist emerged. Thespis invented impersonation, acting, and drama as we know it. Prior to
the actor, the choir didn’t amount to a collective dramatic interlocutor and enactor, and was
merely a choir singing dithyrambs, odes to Dionysus, god of wine, fertility, beatitude: hymns to
life. Here, in Jelinek’s play, we have a choir of Eurydices in hell waiting for the acclaimed
songmaster and protagonist, for an Orpheus, for a Thespis, to “step onto” the stage, so dramatic
dialogue can begin, so the choir too can turn into a collective character and individual. Without
the protagonist, the choir of mere shadows keeps singing. A choir standing in as the negative
image of the ancient Greek one, wailing female hymnic lamentations not to Dionysus, life and
fertility, but to dying: a relentless funeral song. The Eurydice choir plays its own dirge. (Even
Chekhov knew the tragedy of female characters: “I'm in mourning for my life.”) The play is
waiting for the protagonist so theater can start. Meanwhile, Eurydice sings.


—Ilinca Tamara Todorut


your donations make us possible

Over half of the budget of SHADOW. EURYDICE SAYS will be from funds given by individual donors like you. Your donations directly contribute to the success of this show. You'll see your dollars on our stage, in our costumes, lights, sound and sets—and 100% of all the profits we make go into the pockets of our talented team. We can't do it without you.


PRaise for elfriede jelinek


“We are dealing with pornography in its full and literal meaning.”
Piotr Gliński, Polish Minister of Culture, on Jelinek's DEATH AND THE MAIDEN
"[Elfriede Jelinek] has been decried as a 'desecrator of art and culture.'"
Deutsche Welle
"[Her work is] whining, unenjoyable public pornography. [Her prize] has not only been an irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art."
Knut Ahnlund, Member of the Nobel Prize for Literature Selection Committee