Archikulture Digest

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis By Mary Zimmerman

Directed by Bobbie Bell

Seminole State College, Lake Mary, FL</strong>

The Greeks weren’t big on happy endings. Step out of line, and you’ll find your eyes poked out, your loved ones dead, and you’re changed into a newt and can’t get back. Then they humiliate you by painting your story on an urn as a cautionary tale. A short dozen of these morally rich tales play out on a stage featuring a thigh-deep swimming pool and large crew of dedicated actors who spend most of the show dripping wet in a nicely air-conditioned auditorium. A brief Creation Myth takes us from chaos into the ordered world, King Midas (Cory Boughton) brags about his business acumen and tells his daughter (Tempestt Halstead) to bounce her ball else where. He’s got drachmas and an attitude, but he’s not completely evil. When a drunken satyr almost drowns in his pool, he pulls him out and Bacchus (Ian White) rewards him the power to turn everything into gold. These “Gifts from the Gods” always carry a catch, and soon his daughter is 24 carat. Bacchus kindly offers him a way out – walk to the ends of the earth, and wash his hands. It’s worth a try.

The succeeding stories range form the well known “Orpheus and Eurydice” and “Phaeton” crashing the Sun into the Earth, to the obscure “Alcyone and Ceyx”. All use the water feature with varying degrees of success. King Ceyx (Cory Owens) sets sail on a business trip to visit the oracle, and his devoted wife Alcyone (Samantha Faith O’Hare) warns him that the winds will drown him. As he rows on the edge of the pool, Poseidon (White) and his henchmen pull them in and drown them, slipping off stage through the secret underwater exit. The story of Phaeton (Crosby Adams) stretches the water metaphor; his inflatable chair forms the couch for his counseling session as he works through the paradox of parental neglect and overindulgence. In “Myrrha”, the pool seems gratuitous and the cast jumps in more because “We can” rather than “We must.”

Despite this unusual prop (courtesy of set designer Stori Lauritzen), you can’t argue its theatricality and innovation in this production of “Metamorphoses.” Truly touching moments intertwine with broad comedy, and the strength of the Greeks Myths lies in their eternal stories of devotion, treachery, and the truth that The Fates, the Gods, or Statistical Mechanics all play as much a role in our happiness as anything we do intentionally. “Metamorphosis” is a bold move for the newly renamed Seminole State College, and a show you’ll brag about seeing for years. Just temper the bragging, Poseidon has a VERY nasty temper.

For more information on the Seminole State College Theater program, please visit http://www.scc-fl.edu/arts/theatre/


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