‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ operetta to take off in comedic style by Music Department

The cast of "Orpheus in the Underworld" rehearses in Dunham Hall Theater. Photo courtesy of Kourtnee Brenner.

Student performers in the music department will juggle comedic moments- prancing, singing and dancing-among a cast of 16 in “Orpheus in the Underworld” by Jacques Offenbach.

According to Randy Trisler, senior music education major, who plays Orpheus, the operetta is a “farce.”

“It’s an operetta which makes fun of operas. It’s so out there that it’s just funny,” Trisler said.

The operetta revolves around the numerous love interests and conflicts between Eurydice, her husband Orpheus, whom she hates, and the three other gods she falls for. Cupid points them to trouble with her arrows.

Trisler said the characters are different and extreme to “really make for a rich show.”

“All the different characters play off each other very well. Some are serious, some are troublemakers and others are just funny and with so many dynamics it is really a lot of fun,” Trisler said.

Trisler said he gets to play a William Shatner kind of character, a demigod-“very over the top and dramatic…just very in love with himself.”

“I’m playing something differently than I really am or ever played before,” Trisler said. “I’m playing kind of slapstick… [with] physical drama and humor, and I play the violin. I have to pretend to be a violin master.”

Sophomore vocal performance major Sarah Paitz plays Eurydice. She said she likes playing her role a lot as her character is indecisive.

“It’s kind of fun falling in love with the different people,” Paitz said. “It’s challenging. I change my mind. It’s like how a girl changes her clothes.”

Lindsey Davis, senior vocal performance major, plays Cupid and said her character is “ornery and always up to no good.”

“Apparently my arrows have gotten me into a little more trouble than I could handle. I’m being the goofball, I guess. The devious person,” Davis said.

Ben Rardin, senior vocal performance major, plays Pluto, King of the Underworld, and said his character is smart and clever and uses that to get what he wants -Eurydice.

“He’s got a lot more of edge to him than most characters I usually do,” Rardin said. “He spends half of his time being very polite and posh and very clever, then he cuts into being the King of the Underworld every now and then. So you have to make the shift as big as possible, and there’s some humor in that because of the duality.”

Jennifer Brauer, vocal performance graduate student, plays Juno, queen of the gods and said her character is kind of “bossy and air-headed a little bit at the same time.”

Kaitlyn Ritcheson, senior theater performance major, plays Orpheus’ mother, Calliope, and said her character is protective over him

“She doesn’t like his wife very much and thinks he could do better. She is kind of manipulating, conniving and she is headstrong…,” Ritcheson said. “[She] does what she wants but on the outside she is a very refined kind of goddess in order and specificity.”

Trisler said the cast is fantastic and they have worked hard under great and clear direction.

The operetta is headed by stage manager and senior theater major Kourtnee Brenner, stage director Kate Slovinski and music director and professor Marc Schapman.

“Orpheus in the Underworld” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 28 and 29 in Dunham Hall Theater. For ticket information contact the Box Office at 618.650.2774. SIUE students who present ID receive free admission to the performance.




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