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Metamorphoses

a Play
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Mary Zimmerman

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 2287

SHOWING : May 23, 2007 - June 03, 2007

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

** Metamorphoses is back for an encore run! **

based on the myths of Ovid
written by Mary Zimmerman
directed by Richard Garner
May 23 - June 3 (no performance June 2)

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.

Video clips of last summer's production, rehearsal images, music downloads and a time-lapse video of the pool being built can be seen here:

http://www.gashakespeare.org/metamorphoses2007.asp


CAST & CREW LIST
Assistant Stage Manager Rita Ann Marcec
Cast Brik Berkes
Cast Carolyn Cook
Cast Crystal A. Dickinson
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]

Back in the Pool
by Dedalus
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
5.0
Many leagues away, in the Kingdom of Oglethorpe, a theatrical phenomenon has returned to burn its fiery muse in a watery collection of myths and stories and legends. The muse is still vital, and the results sing their melodies of love and change and the emotional core of being alive.

As a peddlar of words, a self-appointed pseudocritic of the efforts of those with more talent than I, I ought to make it my duty to prattle forth an expansion on my prior natterings on this show. Alas, that can not be. As a point of irony, I find my reaction to these “Metamorphoses” decidedly unchanged. Yes, now the Rilke digression seems to make the Orpheus saga lag a bit and the few cast changes color some of the stories in different tones, the changes are all within the statistical error factor, and can be dismissed out of hand. I find my words from last summer perfectly describe my reaction to visiting the pool-side story circle a second time. And perhaps a third or fourth. Herewith is what I said last year (with a tweak or two):

**************************************************************************************************************

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 new season, Georgia Shakespeare has presaged its new ventures into faraway with lands with an old swimming pool. Again, it takes Mary Zimmerman’s compendium of myths from the Roman Poet Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” gives them a somewhat contemporary ambience, and throws them at ten marvelous actors who, as before, dive into their roles with relish, bombaste, subtlety,and real, honest-to-the-Gods emotion. The pieces vary in emotional tone across the entire spectrum from slapstick to parody to social comedy to political satire to stories within stories within stories, and colors them all with a theatrical flair that will take your breath away, as it does mine (and apparently, a few of the actors – just how long do they have to hold their breath underwater? – Yes, I know it’s a trick, but it’s 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 of 2006, 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]
Nice to see you putting your English degree to use... by line!
Hey, Buddy! Howse about leaving a few words for the rest of us to use from time to time!

Kathy & I saw this on Sunday and we were totally washed away! Positively moist from the experience!(Perhaps we were sitting too close, eh?) Even while everything was so incredible, I thought the direction in particular was astounding. Phenominal show! I couldn't beleive it wasn't sold out. Between this and "Lungfish" on Friday, it was a really good theatre weekend.
-Rial
Mesmerizing
by Rosebud424
Thursday, May 24, 2007
5.0
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this show. I admit, before seeing it, I had never read it, and was only vaguely familiar with most of the myths depicted. A friend of mine involved with Georgia Shakes highly recommended it though, and I can't say he was at all wrong to do so.

The first thing the audience sees is the beautiful, idyllic set...A placid pool sprawling across the stage, reflecting the soft lighting and lovingly detailed scrim in the background. From the instant the action of the play began, I was captivated. The well-trained voices of the actors were mesmerizing to listen to, their stories engaging and entertaining. The installments of Zimmerman's new takes on old myths run the gamut from hilarious, to heartbreaking, to poignant and touching. I only occasionally found myself able to break away from what was happening onstage in order to look over at my boyfriend and take in that he was also completely immersed.

The story of Myrrha was my personal favorite, and the one that I believe to be the best-acted and most heart-rending of the lot. The young actress playing Myrrha (Bethany Ann Lind) was wonderfully connected with her character at every moment she was onstage, with every movement of her body expressing her inner-turmoil. I hope so see much more of her onstage in the future.

This show is very much worth seeing, and an excellent representative of the caliber of the actors and directors at Georgia Shakespeare. Everyone involved with the show should be proud of this work! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
I agree and then some.... by green2u
I was so disappointed that I missed it last year after my friends raved about it. Thank you GA Shakes for reviving it! This is truly an ensemble piece with some of the best known and should be known (like the amazing Bethany Ann Lind) actors in town. Even David May, who usually does not understand the term "ensemble," finally got it in this production! Strangely, the impact of the piece did not hit me until the final gorgeous tableau as the lights faded. I felt myself getting choked up (but held back because I didn't want to look like a total mess in front of my date). My non-theatre going date begrudgingly came with me; afterwards he sincerely thanked me for this most unusual and beautiful theatrical experience.


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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