A group of William & Mary students and professors recently turned the blue depths of the Adair Pool into an ancient Greek myth’s underworld.
The group took underwater publicity photos for William & Mary’s Theatre’s upcoming production of “Eurydice” by Sarah Ruhl. The play, directed by Elizabeth Wiley and choreographed by Joan Gavaler, opens Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. in William & Mary’s Phi Beta Kappa Hall.
“The upcoming show … is a contemporary reexamination of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in which water plays a significant role as a passageway into the underworld and a way in which memory can be erased (relating back to the river Styx),” said Matthew Allar, assistant professor of theatrical design.
Allar, who enjoys scuba diving as a pastime, wanted to create compelling publicity photos for the show, which is set in modern times. With the help of the kinesiology department, he was granted access to the Adair Pool.
Donning his scuba gear, Allar and the cast of the play took to the pool to create the photos. Associate Professor Steve Holliday was also on hand to handle the shoot’s lighting.
"Shooting underwater was as fun and challenging as it sounds,” said Francesca Chilcote ‘10, a theatre major.
“Matt was a real champion. He spent something like four or five hours in scuba gear at the bottom of the pool,” she said. “The actors just dove right in and tried to make all the elements: water, lighting, hair, costumes work for the photo. We were all bleary-eyed and chlorine filled by the end, but what a great experience.”
Chilcote said she thinks the resulting photos are “stunning.”
“These photos capture a spirit that I doubt could be photographed on land,” she said. “And that is what this show is really about: rediscovering yourself outside of the world you know."
Allar said he that he, too, was very happy with how the photos turned out.
“The underwater photo shoot, with facilities help from the kinesiology department, gave us a good way to promote the visual and thematic content of the show,” he said. “And I got to use my scuba equipment despite the snow storm!”
“Eurydice” runs at 8 p.m. on Feb. 25-27 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28. For ticket information, visit www.wm.edu/offices/boxoffice or call (757) 221-2674.