by JACOB FROELICH
I was somewhat unsure of what to expect when setting out to see Metamorphoses, I myself am no master of mythological characters, gods or parables. I couldn’t honestly differentiate between an ancient Roman or Greek myth, and yet this production speaks deep to the human condition. No pre-requisites needed, no crash course in the ways of ancient gods or goddesses required. Mary Zimmerman’s interpretation of the myths of Ovid are something humanly universal to behold.
While the production does have a beginning and an end, the experience feels very cyclical. Each episode features a new story, and journey within itself. Different characters draw us in close, every interaction is extremely intimate, and the audience is pulled from our own reality into beautiful, simplistic locations. The use of water in the production conveys the story in a way that only water can. Peaceful one moment then violent the next, and yet, in every scene it is able to wash away, refresh, and restart just as stormy waters recede and return to a still peace. The way the characters embrace and use the water is absolutely beautiful and powerful.
Perhaps even better than the stunning visual effects (scenic designer Daniel Ostling) and content is the way the actors truly embody the role of the ensemble. Each actor is exemplary in their role, and yet none outshine the other. The cast of 10 is strong, determined and as unified as a chorus singing and stepping in time. They all play multiple roles throughout, and none distract from each other while creating or changing a scene. They are a stunning representation of unity and in that way they are all powerful. I applaud this cast, and the focus they must have employed throughout the rehearsal process to create this masterpiece.
I sincerely hope that after reading this review, you go and see Metamorphoses, if only for the feeling of optimism that I experienced as the lights faded. I recommend it highly as one of the more nuanced shows to grace the Guthrie stage recently. It left me with a feeling of hope and I hope your experience will be as moving. Metamorphoses based on the myths of Ovid runs now through May 19th 2019 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Prices range from $29 to $78. For showtimes, tickets and more information visit guthrietheater.org.