Metamorphoses: Metamorphosing the Traditional Play Format
by Marcus Green on Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Performed March 14th through 16th in King Theatre, Metamorphoses, written by American playwright Mary Zimmerman, explores the universe’s creation and brings various Greek gods to life. Through a series of vignettes, the play brings modern features to Ovid’s classic poem “Metamorphoses.” The set includes a celebrated element: a large 4-foot deep pool located the center, where most of the drama takes place. Some stories include Pandora’s Box and Orpheus and Eurydice. Though many stories made up the essence of the play, each scene blended together seamlessly to produce a feeling of continuity.
Effectively incorporated into both humorous and dramatic scenes, the pool plays a significant role in representing change and compassion. Rehearsals in the pool were tough, but director Eleza Moyer was excited to produce Metamorphoses and stressed the importance of the actors retaining the play’s intensity while in the water. Distinctively designed to be water suitable, the costumes were intricate and representative of the era. The audience, seated around the pool, could see actors from various angles and at a close distance, thus becoming involved in the intriguing plot.
Many actors produced standout performances. In particular, Grace Stanfield (II) portrayed Alcyone convincingly. A veteran of the theatre department, she offered a dynamic interpretation, harnessing the feelings of lost love that Alcyone experiences. Another familiar face, Eshani Chakrabarti (III) added a layer of humor through her portrayal of a drunken Silenus. The production tastefully balanced some of the heavier, more emotional scenes with moments of comedy to keep the audience engaged and refreshed. The audience was also treated to some new faces, as James Fadule (II) and Quintin McDermott (II) both tried their luck in the acting scene.
In addition to the high-caliber acting, a third dimension was added to the performance through live music performed by Julia Carabatsos (II) and Talia Rubenstein (II). Feeling an assortment of emotions, viewers certainly identified with the naivety of Midas and the heartbreak of King Ceyx and Queen Alcyone. When asked about the play, the cast and crew of more than 15 students responded positively about the unique experience. Highlights included the initial read-through and the excitement shared when the construction of the pool was complete.
Tech week proved vital not only for perfecting the performance in general, but also according to Tara Sharma (II), for helping the cast “notice patterns and symbols that ran throughout the whole play.” With its use of a pool and live music, Metamorphoses brought an innovative twist to the habitual format of past plays.
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