Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses: Duel Reviews

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By: Peter Ott

“It has been said that the myth is a public dream, dreams are private myths,” says a character in CCP’s production of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, directed by Peggy Mecham. The play brings the ancient Roman myths of Ovid into our time and tackles some of the same central themes in our modern lives.

The central theme of Metamorphoses is the concept of change. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary to “metamorphose” means to change into a different physical form, especially by supernatural means. The theme of change is expressed by the play’s use of water. The primary feature of the set in Metamorphoses is a pool, which sits center stage and is central to all of the stories. The pool’s transforms from the swimming pool of King Midas, the ocean in which Ceyx drowns, the food devoured by Erysichthon, Narcissus’ mirror, a basin to hold Myrrha’s tears, and the River Styx of the Underworld. As characters move and leave the pool they are transformed.

Metamorphoses uses multiple narrators, who both tell and comment on the story. The plot is constructed as a series of vignettes beginning with the story of King Midas (played expertly by Christopher Wilson) and his greed. After Midas shuns his daughter (played by the lovely and talented Barbara Luz Welsh) for being too disruptive during his speech about caring for his family, a drunken Silenus (hilariously played by Christopher Mullins) enters and speaks of a distant land where people live forever. Silenus later falls asleep, and Midas gives him a place to sleep off the alcohol. When Bacchus (the God of wine played by the formidable Andriy Kasztelan) comes to retrieve Silenus, he grants Midas a wish for his care of Silenus. Midas asks to have whatever he touches turn into gold. Bacchus warns him of his folly but Midas is unconvinced. Midas accidentally turns his daughter into gold and is told by Bacchus to seek a distant mystic pool, which may restore her to normal. Midas leaves on his quest and the other stories of the play are told and we are left wondering if Midas can be redeemed. Finally at the end, Midas unexpectedly reappears from his quest with his restored daughter, and on this note of the transformative nature of love the play comes to an end.

“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.”

The next play featured at CCP will be Prometheus Bound in the auditorium BG-20. Show times are as follows:
Monday, April 15th, 12:40 pm
Tuesday, April 16th, 12:45 pm
Wednesday, April 17th, 10:20 pm
Thursday, April 18th, 11:10 am and 7:00 pm

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Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses: Duel Reviews