By Kevin Hogencamp
Jacksonville University freshmen theatre majors Sydney Deal and Matt Robertson are new to JU, but not each other. Close friends, they were in productions together in Sarasota, Fla., where they attended high school together.
Now they are cast as romantic interests in JU College of Fine Arts Theater Department’s production of “Eurydice,” which continues this week.
“I could not have asked for a better person to be cast as my opposite,” Deal said. “I’m glad Matt and I knew each other previously because (Eurydice and Orpheus) are very much in love, which calls for familiarity. Matt is one of my best friends and I am so thankful that we are both comfortable enough to play these parts.”
Both say they are thrilled with their college choice and, in particular, JU’s Theater Department.
“JU has been awesome so far. I have been finding so many opportunities, and it’s only my first semester,” said Robertson, who is studying music theater.
Here is a Q&A with Deal, a theater major, and Robertson, a music theater major.
Why did you choose JU?
Robertson: “I chose JU not only for its great scholarship opportunities, but also because the music theater program is more music based with a heightened sense of individualism.”
Deal: “It has a small homey atmosphere that I really liked. All the people I met were really nice, and I was really looking forward to meeting new people and enjoying the atmosphere JU had to offer.”
What has been special about the “Eurydice” experience?
Robertson: “This production has been special because I have been able to work with great faculty and students so early in my college career. I also have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Miss Deal, she has made this a one-of-a-kind show.”
Deal: “It is my first lead role and I am so honored to have been cast so early on in my college career. I am thankful that I have been trusted with playing this part with care and it has pushed me to do my absolute best and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
OK, about all that kissing in the show …
Robertson: “We have been friends for many years, and were completely fine with had to be done.”
Deal: “Knowing Matt as well as I do, the kissing is not nearly as awkward as you’d think. We are not a couple, but he’s an extremely close friend of mine. That made it much easier to ‘fall in love’ with him. I mean, he’s a good looking guy, right? But he’s very talented and we both look at the kissing from a professional point of view.”
“Eurydice” is Sarah Ruhl’s imaginative retelling of the Orpheus myth from a female perspective, focusing on a dead bride’s struggle with love beyond the grave. JU Prof. Deborah Jordan is directing “Eurydice”; JU Prof. Scott Watkins is composing original music for the show; Prof. Ben Wilson is the scenic and lighting designer; Sally Pettegrew is designing costumes; Brandon Lettow is technical director; and Katarina Howell is the stage manager.
Also cast in the show are: Leonard Alterman, Father; Lexi Inks, Loud Stone; Ashley Jones, Little Stone; Wayne Woodson, Big Stone; Rachel Romo, Woman Understudy; Adam Keller, Man Understudy; and David Bilbray, Nasty Interesting Man/Lord of the Underworld.
The upcoming performances of “Eurydice” at Swisher Theater on the JU campus are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3.
Tickets to the show are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and military, $5 for children and students with IDs, and free for JU students faculty and staff.
Click here to read more about JU’s production of “Eurydice” in Wave Weekly.