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Metamorphoses

a Play
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Mary Zimmerman

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1608

SHOWING : July 27, 2006 - August 20, 2006

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

based on the myths of Ovid
written by Mary Zimmerman
directed by Richard Garner
July 27 - August 20

A 24-foot-wide swimming pool becomes a playground for mortals, gods and goddesses as Georgia Shakespeare presents this Tony Award-winning Broadway hit. Hailed by TIME magazine as the "theatrical event of the year," this luminous play about the transformative power of love in our lives translates ancient myths into poignant and often funny modern tales that illustrate the human capacity to adapt and endure. This overtly theatrical event weds the power of storytelling, the grace of movement, and the magic of music to bring to life an evening of stunning beauty.

Featuring an ensemble of 10 Georgia Shakespeare artists.

Metamorphoses contains brief nudity. Parental guidence suggested. Approximate running time: 90 minutes. No intermission.

Metamorphoses Martini Nights - Unwind after a long week with great theater, food, drink, and the chance to mix and mingle with Atlanta's hottest actors!


CAST & CREW LIST
Cast Carolyn Cook
Cast Crystal A. Dickinson
Cast Brandon Dirden
Cast Chris Ensweiler
Cast Chris Kayser
Cast Park Krausen
Cast Bethany Anne Lind
Cast Daniel May
Cast Courtney Patterson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Nice pool
by lst390
Sunday, August 20, 2006
3.0
yawn... [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Incredible
by curmudgeon
Thursday, August 17, 2006
5.0
Went to see this show last night.

I don't think I have been this moved by a theatrical production in some time. While I will not attempt to provide an indepth and thoughtful review like Daedelus has done, I will attempt to convey my feelings about this show.

I was stunned.

I would have gotten up to give a standing ovation if my knees would have held me.

Go see this play. If you see no other production from any other theatre company this year, go see this play. I don't think I can stress this enough. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Tranformation and Redemption
by EKFricke
Thursday, August 10, 2006
NR
If brevity is the soul of wit then let me be brief.

Others have already expounded on the virtues of GSF's "Metamorphoses". It has garnered nothing but the highest reviews around town. So naturally, I was eager to see it and engage in a lively debate about what could have been improved. I was stumped! I had to agree with everything I've read. This is a wonderful, masterful rendition of classic stories.

The acting was suberb (indeed, humbling - I think I need to sign up for more classes somewhere if I ever want to be as good as these folks were) - the action compelling, the set design breathtaking - but let me be brief.

I worried that it had been too long since I've read the source material and that the subject matter might be over my head. I worried needlessly. These are your classic tales of love and loss - some familiar (Midas, Narcissus) some not - but all were very accessible and relatable. Still, I will be brief.

If you have not bought your ticket, you really ought to do so today. This is the kind of show that sends shivers down your spine. Gut wrenchingly, achingly beautiful. I took along five friends (some actors, some not) and we all of us were blown away.

In brief: props, kudos, bravo GSF! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Why no rating? by mom2actor
If you enjoyed the show so much, why didn't you rate it? Just curious....Amy McCracken
No rating by EKFricke
I'm not a big fan of boiling down ratings to number values. Maybe it's because in my 'other life' I manage people and when I have to rate them on a numbered scale during evaluation, all they focus on is the number and not on what I've said.

And, like Rial, I tend to take into consideration the theatre group and its resources when I critique - so a 5 for one company would not be the same 5 for a different company with different resources at hand.

That's all. :-)
Re: No Rating by Cavendish
Hmm, a review site with no ratings? Are you suggesting this? If not, then your "review", in my opinion, should be kept to the Forum.

A no-rating review reminds me of misguided people who run certain little league baseball games where all the kids get to play and no score is kept. God forbid we should hurt an actors' (or little kids) feelings and self esteem. Scoring is a part of life. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen (or off the stage).

What you have to say about a show is very important but no more so than the rating.
by thespisATL
I just can't seem to find the problem with what Liz just said. Evidently some people can...
To each his own, I suppose. by mom2actor
While I understand your point of view, I just don't find it as helpful to read a review that doesn't have a "bottom line." I'm an attorney, though, and I tend to be less concerned about hurting people's feelings! (Occupational hazard, I suppose.)

You'll notice I don't review shows at all, because I tend to be overly critical. (I can count on one hand the number of "5" shows I've seen in the last five years.) Since I'm a Southern Belle, my mamma always taught me that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. So I don't review!

As for your personal choice not to list a rating, I agree that it might be more appropriate to put your opinions of a show in a comment. I think most of us who look at reviews expect a "bottom line." But it's a free country, isn't it? (Except if we want to engage in petty, mean-spirited jibes at actors/theatres/etc. on theaterreview.com...that's not allowed!) :o) Amy McCracken
Viva Dialog! by EKFricke
You guys are great and you bring up interesting points. I love it! I totally understand your POV - this IS a ratings-base review board, after all. I used to post my reviews to ATML because of my aversion to "scoring" a production. And also because there used to be a time when you risked getting flamed on this board. I'm glad that has stopped.

Well - if I had to score this - I'd maybe give it a 4 or 4.5. Like you, Amy, I don't tend to give out 5's much. But I also recognize that I will nit-pick a professional theater much more than I would a start up community theatre. I think maybe THAT is ALSO worth a good debate, yah? Maybe I oughtn't?

Anyway - thanks for your comments all! I wish we could get together and chat in person - I love a good debate!

Lizzie "No Ratings" Fricke :-)
Transformations, Style, and Meaning
by Dedalus
Monday, July 31, 2006
5.0
The question on the table is this – Can a Theatrical Amalgam of Ovid, Rilke, Joseph Cambell, Anti-Rational Rhetoric, Freud, and Intellectual Juxtapositions have the power to transform a cynical pseudocritic into a blubbering cliché of soggy emotion? Let’s just say I never Metamorphosis I didn’t like and we can move on with our lives.

For its outstanding season finale, Georgia Shakespeare has removed all trace of Elsinore and Illyria and replaced them with a swimming pool. It then took Mary Zimmerman’s compendium of myths from the Roman Poet Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” gave them a somewhat contemporary ambience, and threw themat ten marvelous actors who dove into their roles with relish, bombaste, subtlety,and real, honest-to-the-Gods emotion. The pieces varied in emotional tone across the entire spectrum from slapstick to parody to social comedy to political satire to stories within stories within stories, and colored them all with a theatrical flair that will take your breath away, as it did mine (and apparently, a few of the actors – just how long did they have to hold their breath underwater? – Yes, I know it was a trick, but it was a good one that wasn’t apparent, even when it was explained to me).

Let’s focus on my only objection to the script – the anti-rational rhetoric. Last March, I took 7 Stages’ production of “The Unpossessed”to task for setting up a “straw man” definition of rationality as that which is opposed to the imagination, a “given” I see as totally off the mark. Here, too, that same paradigm is stated (and I paraphrase here) as “the answers that rationalism give to the nature of the universe cannot touch us at our core as well as the stories of myth can.” (I believe this is also the basic premise of Joseph Campbell’s studies on Myth, but I’d need to do more research to validate that). In my experience, the exact opposite is true – the more “facts” science uncovers about the universe, the more awesome and mysterious if becomes to me, whereas myth provides more-or-less comforting stories that actually stop us from asking more questions. In my cynical and rational mind, it is science that opens us to a wonder of mystery, and it is myth and religion that reduces it to a simplistic and childlike story.

But a funny thing happens as the stories and myths are told – they actually reach an emotional part of me that responds with laughter, and tears, and, yes, let me honest, awe. To view the final images of the play, where floating fire and eternal love and redemption and kindness all come together in a complex web of feeling is to be transformed. Not because I believe the stories are factual, that the events are real, that the gods really act on our behalf, but because I believe the human needs and choices and responses are real and, not to belabor the metaphor, transformative.

It may be that theater and film and even television play the same function in our lives as myth did for the ancients, as religion does for our conemporaries who aren’t saddled with the skepticism of us rationalists. Perhaps Campbell is right in that these trasformations aren’t merely good and functional, but necessary. It may very well be that without these metamorphoses, we become the mere animals our genetic code implies.

To summarize, I cannot recommend “Metamorphoses” enough. It has tales of greed and happiness, and loss, and incest, and lust, and redemption, and,of course, transformation. It is told with ten actors and a swimming pool. And it screams godlike melodies of life into every part of who you are or ever want to be.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

Note – What? You thought I’d chose a pen-name like “Dedalus” and not respond to the myths and stories of legend? Sure, I chose it mainly for the very pretentious reason that James Joyce is one of my favorite writers, and Stephen Dedalus is a major character in both “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and “Ulysses.” But the reason Joyce chose it himself also resonates with me – Dedalus the Architect, the Artificier, the one who builds but does not participate, the one who loses his son because (in his own mind) he couldn’t build well enough. I suppose, in these columns, what I am really trying to do is design and create an “uncreated conscience of theater,” not through the intellectual checklists most critics bring with them to their aisle seats, but through the surprise and revelations that real theater artists bring to their work. I hope to instigate arguments that can shed light on the mysteries of what we do. I want the artists I write about to disagree with me and defend their choices. As an actor and lighting designer, I am, at best, competent (never inspired). But as “Pseudocritic,” I can throw out seeds of ideas that may grow into weeds or flowers, may fall onto barren or fertile ground, or may remain completely unheard (How’s that for a metaphor – “The wailing cry of an unheard unrooted seed”). Bit by bit, column by column, I can build an edifice that may exist only in my imagination, but that may also transform into a legacy that will stay with Atlanta Theatre long after I have moved onto the void religious folks promise awaits me.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Rebuttal to AJC by Dedalus
While Mr. Brock's review of the show was generally favorable (though not quite as favorable as my response), he did make one statement I feel needs a rebuttal. He writes, "Songs have been added when spoken language would suffice, and a scene in which Orpheus performs a vocal number while being sprayed with a shower of water from above seems especially superfluous." Leaving aside the fact that the song was scripted, it should be remembered that Orpheus was all about music, that music was his life. The scene in question was the crux of the story, the moment he makes his case using his best tool (song) to convince the God of the Underworld to grant his request. This is hardly superfluous, but the heart and soul of the story, and to have him deliver his plea as "Spoken word" would have been ineffective and contrary to his character and the spirit of his story.

-- Brad
by EKFricke
God bless ya, Brad! You make me feel like I'm back in college, sitting in my favorite teacher's class talking Marlowe & Sydney.

I'm just now trying to gather together a group of pals to see this show. I won't put it off any longer and risk missing it - like I did Hamlet!

Keep writing - it does my poor, tired, frazzled brain some good.


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