Let me die the moment my love dies.
Let me not outlive my own capacity to love.
Let me die still loving, and so, never die.
― Mary Zimmerman, writer of Metamorphoses: A Play
Theater-opera director and playwright Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses is one of the most beautiful and intense pieces of work theater lovers will return to see many times over. It’s a tale derived from Greek and Roman mythology about transformation. The main “actor” sits in the center of the theater—a magical pool that serves to purify the soul, while, saving those in danger from mortal or mystic entities. Zimmerman’s work is a combination of Ovid’s epic poem, The Metamorphoses and writer David R. Slavitt’s translation of The Metamorphoses of Ovid. She adds her special brand of spice and turned it into a beautiful, tragic and illuminating story of passion and pain.
The main focal point is the pool right in the middle of the theater as characters work around it while telling their story. The pool serves not only to purify the soul but also, to rescue those of their impending fate. Zimmerman picks 11 stories, from both sources, detailing everything starting with the creation of the earth “Cosmogony.” The first narrators are Woman by the Water, Scientist, and Zeus who explain how the natural world of peace and harmony turned into chaos. Later on, the story of a doomed love between Alcyone (Trisha Miller), daughter of King Aeolus of Thessaly in Greece, and her husband Ceyx (DeJuan Christopher) is sadly spoken about along, with the most recently talked about couple Orpheus and Eurydice. Phaeton (wonderfully played by Kasey Mahaffy) speaks to a therapist about his strained relationship with his father the sun god, Apollo, to a nurturing therapist.
Three laundresses begin to tell the story of Midas (Geoff Eliott at his suburb best). The king with the deadly golden touch. Sounds good in the beginning to have gold at the touch of your fingertips. That is, until it gets in the way when you’re trying to eat and drink. It gets worse when he hugs his daughter as she is forever immortalized. At first, he’s annoyed by her constant interruptions—she jumps rope and plays with a ball in the middle of his speech. He reaches out to her, forgetting his new gift and she becomes a beautiful statue. Midas comes across a drunk Silenus, the tutor and companion to Bacchus the god of wine, tells the king about a place beyond the ocean where no one dies. He falls sleep before revealing the location. Midas gives the sleeping Silenus shelter for the night. Bacchus relieves Silenus in the morning and offers Midas a thank you gift. Enter the touching everything into gold. We know what happens there. From then forward, Zimmerman weaves more fantastic stories.
Zimmerman directed an early version of the play, then called Six Myths, in 1996 at the Northwestern University Theater and Interpretation Center. Metamorphoses was produced in 1998. She won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Direction for her adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott does a phenomenal job in executing Zimmerman’s vision of heart, beauty and soul. She captured the essence of Zimmerman’s words into a visual bridge of words and actions. Great story and great talent goes a long way in this production.
Metamorphoses: a play, plays at A Noise Within, located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd, in Pasadena, plays Saturday June 4th at 2 p.m. and at 8 p.m., ending Sunday, June 5th at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $25, discounts for groups of 10 or more, available login to www.anoisewtihin.org or call 626-353-3100.
Run Time and Intermission: 90 minutes. No intermission.
All audience members must show proof of full vaccination. Masks are required. All audience members 18 and older must show photo ID. If you need an accommodation to any of our policies, please be in touch with us in advance so we can work with you to meet your needs.