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Metamorphoses – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

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When Georgia Shakespeare first produced Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman in 2006, it was well received and earned several Suzi Bass Awards. Now, it is remounting the production with six returning cast members and four new ones. This production is set to be as highly praised as the original.

Based on the classic epic Metamorphoses by Greek writer Ovid, the play tells a series of vignettes about gods, goddesses and mythological figures such as King Midas, Eros and Psyche. It begins with an etiological narrative, and the remaining scenes use the story of Midas to bookend the updated tales.

The center of the production is Kat Conley’s impressive set design, which includes a shallow pool that forms the stage. A narrow walkway sits around the perimeter, and a post-modern looking mountain fits in nicely with the staging.

The execution and visuals of the show were nearly perfect under Richard Garner’s direction. Everything works together to creating a strong production. Kendall Simpson has composed new music for the show, and Clay Benning’s seamless sound design provides a wonderful platform to showcase it.

The stories are humorous and touching and like the myths themselves, each one holds a life lesson for the audience. The ensemble members (Kristin Butler, Carolyn Cook, Barrett Doyle, Neal A. Ghant, Ann Marie Gideon, Chris Kayser, Tess Malis Kincaid, Joe Knezevich, Park Krausen, and Travis Smith) play several characters throughout the play. All of the cast members give wonderful performances, but there are a few that are especially memorable.

Told from two perspectives, the story of Orpheus (Smith) and Eurydice (Gideon) is hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking. What makes the scene stand out is the emotions displayed by the actors, showing love, longing and pain.

Likewise the story of Alcyone (Krausen) and Ceyx (Smith) mesmerizes as the two lovers turn into birds after Ceyx’s body washes ashore after his ship is destroyed by Poseidon. The staging of the ship wreck inside the pool is perfectly executed and integrates all the elements wonderfully. The visuals in the scene are stunning and balance well with the music to create a truly magical moment.

Entertaining, thought-provoking and beautifully staged, Metamorphoses plays at Georgia Shakespeare’s venue, the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University through July 21, 2013. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. Please note that there is a scene with dimly lit nudity. The show’s run time is 90 minutes with no intermission.

– Kenny Norton