Original Source: The Myths of Ovid; The Metamorphoses
Company: The Aurora Fox Arts Center
Venue: Aurora Fox Studio Theater, 9900 East Colfax, Aurora, CO
Running Time: 2 hours (includes 20 minute intermission)
Date of Performance: Saturday, August 17, 2013
From the moment you enter the intimate Studio Theater at the Aurora Fox, you know this is a special production. The set is stunning. To say it is unusual does not do it justice. The stage is dominated by a large pool of water, softly lit in a soothing blue color. As you wait for the show to start, you will have a very hard time taking your eyes off this beautiful set.
For those who haven't heard, the play takes place in and around this body of water. One might wonder if that is simply a gimmick. I assure you it is not. The pool is the perfect metaphor for the sustenance and transformations water provides us. The set enables many dramatic opportunities, including full immersion, splashing, paddling, and cleansing. That said, though, the best use of the set is for telling Ovid's stories through the power and promise of the water that sustains our lives.
The play is based on Ovid's 8 A.D. poem The Metamorphoses (translation: "The Book of Transformations"). The original work is a collection of approximately 250 myths organized into 15 books. Ovid's recurring theme is love, and Mary Zimmerman's play focuses on the best of those love stories.
Some of the myths, King Midas, for example are familiar; others are more obscure. Each, however, teaches us something about love, be it courting, the price of incest, the loss of a loved one, or the last request of a poor married couple. Each is exquisitely staged, performed, and lighted to bring the impact of Ovid's messages to us 2,000 years later.
|Ryan Wuestewald, Zachary Andrews, Justin Walvoord|
Every cast member plays multiple roles, and all wind up in the pool of water. The physical demands are substantial, as actors plunge into the pool from every angle, including from above. The constant temperature changes, from the water to the air, in soaking wet and heavy costumes, is a unique acting challenge.
The cast is equal to that challenge, using the pool as if it is their normal acting environment. Every actor here brings his or her A game while dealing with multiple costume changes and a constant shift between being dry and soaked. Singling any of them out is impossible; each delivers a gifted, inspired, unique and flawless performance.
Director Geoffrey Kent makes full use of the unique set and all the talent he puts on it. The first time we see an actor unexpectedly emerge from under the water, Kent has us asking ourselves "how did they do that?" Kent moves actors around, through, in, and above the pool in an elegant dance that keeps the audience totally engaged in the action and the set.
However, it is the final scene that one remembers when leaving the theater, and here Kent has given us a beautifully staged, powerful love poem to take home with us. The beauty of that exquisitely lit scene, with the entire cast onstage, is emotionally moving and unforgettable.
Metamorphoses is one of those rare theater experiences that reminds us why we love theater. We get to spend two hours submerged in the beauty of the story, the setting, and the 2,000 year old messages delivered to us by very talented professionals. It's a mesmerizing, captivating, and gratifying experience.
You almost certainly have not seen anything like Metamorphoses before, and you may never have the opportunity to see it again. The venue is small (I'd guess about 50-60 seats), and the run is over on September 22. If you're a theater fan, you do not want to miss Metamorphoses. Get your tickets before they're gone.
|Zachary Andrews, Jaimie Morgan|
There is ample parking behind the theater and on the nearby streets (except Colfax). This show is suitable for all ages. Seating is reserved, and tickets will be difficult to get. Patrons seated in the first row will be provided plastic rain gear to avoid getting too wet. The room is kept warm for the actors comfort.
Due to the extraordinary efforts needed to create such an elaborate set, I have included the construction crew in the credits below.
This show closes on September 22, 2013.
Photo Credits: Aurora Fox Arts Center
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Director: Geoffrey Kent
Director: Geoffrey Kent
Technical Director (Water): Brandon Phillip Case
Scenic Design: Charles Dean Packard
Sound Design: William Burns
Lighting Design: Shannon McKinney
Dramaturg: Bianca Gordon
Costume Design: Meghan Anderson Doyle
Stage Manager: Lindsay Sullivan
Construction Crew: Brandon Case, Jeff Jesmer, Dustin Hartley, Miles Goeglein, David Kading, Grace Crummett, Wyatt MacNeil, Hannah Brunner, Katy Dawson, Blake Nelson-Dunki, Sammy Landau, Robert Michael Sanders.
Cyex and others: Zachary Andrews
Aleyone and others: Michelle Y. Hurtubise
Aphrodite and others: Jaimie Morgan
Midas and others: Michael Morgan
Nursemaid and others: Jada Roberts
Myrrha and others: Carmen Vreeman
Erysichthon and others: Justin Walvoord
Phaeton and others: Ryan Wuestewald