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Metamorphoses: An Overview of the Fall Production

Lois Bronaugh, reporter

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One expects to find random things in the basement of Ida Green. Colorful boas, cardboard cutouts, styrofoam of all shapes… but an actual swimming pool? Now that’s unexpected.

This swimming pool is the centerpiece of AC’s fall theatre production: Metamorphoses. Performed the evenings of November 16-18th in Beardsley Arena, Metamorphoses is the telling of 13 ancient Greek myths that each reveal some type of change within the world or the protagonists themselves. The roughly 90 minute long production begins and ends with the story of King Midas, a man whose greedy wish results in the loss of his daughter, a loss only amended by cleansing himself in a very distant lake. Implanted between Midas’ distress and reunion are myths such as Halcyone and Ceyx, Orpheus and Eridise, Myrrha, Phaeton, and others, each conveying some type of transformation, both good and bad, that come to pass because of personal decisions.

As perhaps already guessed from the pool in the set, Metamorphoses isn’t exactly an ordinary play. Straying from the traditional style of a stage raised above and facing the audience, this AC production, by means of its director, Elizabeth Parks, decided to place its viewers amidst the action by setting the chairs around and on level with the action– a 360° stage, if you will. By doing so, the production’s cast had to perform to both sides with equal volume and expression, and every story had to present itself on a multi-faceted level. Metamorphoses pulled this off well; the open movement of the actors kept the audience engaged and included them in the stories, allowing them to be involved in each character’s change, or metamorphosis.unnamed

Besides the unique staging situation, Metamorphoses also effectively used props and costumes to expand the meaning of the production. The pool built in the center proved to be a central motif throughout the play, tying the varied tales together with a common theme and emphasizing water as the symbolic element of transformation. The traditional Greek robes of the actors’ costumes kept the play rooted in its origins, but the use of colloquial language (and, in Phaeton’s tale, bright swimming briefs and an inflated tube) brought lightness, humor, and ultimately balance to the more somber messages.

What did the actors themselves think about the play? Kyle Andrle, a freshman who played roles such as Narcissus and Midas’ guard, stated that after rehearsing with his fellow actors throughout the semester, just “knowing that a show is a success is a really nice feeling” and that “it’s just a lot of fun”. The 11-member cast of Metamorphoses was able to grow close, and this, Kyle claimed, was his favorite part of the experience. On the other hand, the deadlines and set complications were stressful.

Metamorphoses was poignant; that much is certain. Its return to Greek mythology provoked the audience to recognize deep changes that people underwent, and its effortless integration of the modern allowed them to realize that they were capable of such change themselves. There were moments, however, that transitions between scenes were more confusing than constructive and the audience was left to connect a bit too much between the undercurrent of the many plots. Still, Metamorphoses was well prepared for and exceptionally performed, and I am only too excited to attend whatever production they cook up next. Maybe this time, there’ll be a water slide, too.

(To look at the official announcement of Metamorphoses as well as the full cast and crew, please follow this link to the Austin College website: http://www.austincollege.edu/metamorphoses-opens-at-austin-college/ )

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Metamorphoses: An Overview of the Fall Production