Paula Vogel: Remembering Through Language

Paula Vogel

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

itoggle caption

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

A Puppet Play With Actors

by Paula Vogel

Paperback, 59 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
The Long Christmas Ride Home
Subtitle
A Puppet Play With Actors
Author
Paula Vogel

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

How I Learned to Drive

by Paula Vogel

CD/Spoken Word | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
How I Learned to Drive
Author
Paula Vogel

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.