Paula Vogel: Remembering Through Language

Paula Vogel

hide captionPaula Vogel's plays include "Hot 'n' Throbbing," "The Mineola Twins" and "How I Learned to Drive."

In Greek myth, the beautiful Eurydice dies soon after marrying Orpheus. After a trip to the Underworld to retrieve his love, Orpheus makes the mistake of looking back at Hades, and Eurydice must return there.

Listen: Charles Shaw Robinson in Sarah Ruhl's 'Eurydice' at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Listen: Jenny Bacon, Christopher Donahue and Jerry Saslow in 'Baltimore Waltz' by L.A. Theatre Works

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel says she loves how Sarah Ruhl adapts the Greek myth for modern audiences. In Eurydice, Ruhl — a former student of Vogel's — mines themes of language and memory by telling the story from Eurydice's perspective and forcing the nymph to choose between her husband and her father.

Ruhl's vision of Eurydice's father choosing to obliterate his memories of his daughter provides the scene for this week's installment of Scenes I Wish I'd Written, with NPR's Susan Stamberg.

Vogel also picked a scene from her own work to discuss. The Baltimore Waltz opened in 1992, and is Vogel's response to the AIDS plague, written in memory of her brother. In the play, Anna knows her brother Carl is dying, and imagines the two of them in a restaurant.

The Baltimore Waltz is currently in revival at New York's Signature Theatre, along with other works by Paula Vogel. Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1998 play How I Learned to Drive.

Books Featured In This Story

The Long Christmas Ride Home
The Long Christmas Ride Home

A Puppet Play With Actors

by Paula Vogel

Paperback, 59 pages | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • The Long Christmas Ride Home
  • A Puppet Play With Actors
  • Paula Vogel
How I Learned to Drive
How I Learned to Drive

by Paula Vogel

CD/Spoken Word | purchase

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Purchase Featured Books

  • How I Learned to Drive
  • Paula Vogel

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