The following activities will help familiarize your students with the plot of Eurydice, forge connections between a variety of classroom subjects, and encourage creative responses to the opera. They are designed to be accessible to a wide array of ages and experience levels.
What Is Love? (Baby Don’t Hurt Me!)
Invite students to write their own definitions of love, and then discuss the language we use to describe love. While discussing the love-based idioms we use, you and your students may enjoy watching Mandy Len Catron’s TED talk, “A Better Way to Talk about Love.” Finally, have your students ask and answer the “36 Questions that Make Strangers Fall in Love” (popularized in Catron’s New York Times essay “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This”) from the perspective of a character from the myth or the opera.
Memory and Language: An Elegy
Study the elegy form with your students, and then invite them to write two elegies—one from the perspective of a character in Eurydice and one from their own perspective.
My Dearest Love: An Epistolary Remembrance
Think about how letters are used in Eurydice to enable communication between different characters and even different realms. Have students read some famous letters from history, and then invite them to write two elegies—one from the perspective of a character in Eurydice and one from their own perspective.
A Room Made Out of String
In Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl uses string to represent the many ways we can take care of each other using objects that are small, inexpensive, and fragile, like string. Invite students to think of a few objects that make them feel safe or comforted, and then ask them to imagine how they might use these objects to care for other people in their lives. Finally, have students make a collage or a diorama using some of these items, or ask them to collect these items in a box to draw on when they feel sad or overwhelmed.
COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS
These activities directly support the following ELA-Literacy Common Core Strands:
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.