By Jan Aaron
everybody into the pool!" If you think this no way to describe
a Broadway play, it is — when the play is Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses.
The show, which had a sold-out Off-Broadway run last fall, now
is a Broadway hit at Circle In the Square.
Ms. Zimmerman's play adapts ten tales by Ovid to explore the enduring
and transforming power of love. It offers a great way to bring
the classics into the classroom.
The length of the stage is taken up with a big wading pool surrounded
by a narrow wooden deck. Water, the most changeable element, works
well to tell these tales. As Gods and mortals jump in and out
of the water, splashes hit the front rows. Management provides
The tales are not classically mounted but thoughtful contemporary
retellings with plenty of humor. The play opens with King Midas,
here impeccable in a tux. When he wishes for the golden touch,
Bacchus's warning: "That's a really bad idea," sounds very hip.
But the story grows darker and richer as it sets the stage for
the dramas to follow. Perhaps the most memorable comic moment
is Doug Hara's Phaeton, the spoiled son of Apollo, who blabs to
his therapist while lounging in the pool. Touching episodes like
the tale of Alcyon and Ceyx, lovers separated by death, but reunited
as birds, linger long in the mind.
The play combines the key ingredients of enjoyable theater — a
good story (here several of them), interestingly told, a striking
setting (by Daniel Ostling), lovely costumes (Mara Blumenfeld),
drama, leavened with humor and hope, and a lot of laughs. All
10 people in the cast are completely convincing in many roles
and very graceful, which also is important to the story telling.
Morsels of sex and nudity are not enough to keep this from being
family fare. Metamorphoses ends memorably with the story
Baucis and Philemon, which told here is not about hospitality
but the power of love.#
(Tickets $30-$75, at the Box Office or telecharge 212-239-6200)
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