REVIEW WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA PERRYMAN
Metamorphose means “to change the form or nature” or “transform.” And change is one of the concepts at the heart of “Metamorphoses,” a play based on the myths of Ovid, now on stage at Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia.
“Metamorphoses” was written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman. Arden’s Doug Hara excellently directs the theater’s current production. The cast, comprised of Krista Apple-Hodge, Leigha Kato, Alex Keiper, Sharina Martine, Clare O’Malley, Lindsay Smiling, Brandon Pierce, Steve Pacek, Christopher Patrick Mullen and Sean Bradley, depict 11 of Ovid’s myths. Each actor is the central character in one vignette as well as supporting characters in others.
Each story contains a valuable lesson and most are centered on change and love. Several stories, including those of Alcyone and Ceyx, and Baucis and Philemon, have the lovers physically transforming shape in order to be together forever. Others contain warnings about upsetting the gods (Myrrha’s story) or the balance of nature (Erysichthon’s tale). The myth about Orpheus and Eurydice has the young widow descending to Hades in an attempt to reclaim his lost bride.
Arden’s cast powerfully brings to life the stories. Because each actor plays several roles, “Metamorphoses” calls for the men and women to be very versatile and they excel at it. Both individually and as a group, the performances are compelling.
Brian Signey Bembridge’s set includes a magnificent pool essential to much of the action. Costumes by Olivera Gajic are simple and appropriate for the piece. Christopher Colucci’s sound is well done. Lighting is a critical component to the show. Thom Weaver’s lighting perfectly enhances the performance.
IF YOU GO: “Metamorphoses” runs at Arden Theatre Co., 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, through Nov. 1. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 7 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $36-$50 for adults. Discounts are available for seniors, educators, full time students and military. For tickets or information, call (215) 922-1122 or visit ardentheatre.org. The show contains nudity and adult themes, therefore may not be suitable for young children. “Metamorphoses” runs an hour and a half with no intermission.