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This article by Simon Saltzman

was prepared for the March 13, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

On Broadway: `Metamorphoses’

Last year, U.S. 1 critic Simon Saltzman and audiences gave


to Mary Zimmerman’s production of "Metamorphoses" when it

opened Off-Broadway on October 9. Extended twice, the show ran until

December 30, and it has now been moved to an even more brilliant


at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theater. Below is Saltzman’s


review, originally published on October 31, 2001.

Mary Zimmerman, the Chicago-based director whose work

is notable for its imagination, originality, and exotic subjects,

has created another jewel, this time derived from Ovid’s collection

of mythological stories.

Dreamlike and fantastical, "Metamorphoses," is set in and

around a 30-foot lustrous pool — the amniotic fluid of human


dreams, and fears. Its dark waters shimmer in the glow of T.J.


luminous lighting designs. And although we see heavenly clouds


behind the action, where gods gather overhead, in Daniel Ostling’s

abstract setting, it is through a mere shabby urban doorway that most

of these noble personages are afforded their entrances and exits.

As she did so cleverly with her memorable production of "The


(which opened McCarter Theater’s fall 2000 season), Zimmerman has

laced these ancient, fantastical stories of gods and their


in the lives of mortals with a sparkling contemporary wit.

While Zimmerman’s vision is played out in varying ritualistic and

formalized styles, her text flirting with both flights of heavenly

poetry and more common and earthy prose, there is always a


contemporary edge superimposed upon the stories. These are played

out in waters both tranquil and turbulent. Notwithstanding a violent

storm at sea, or a sustained underwater action, the actors always

emerge and submerge ready to carry on their daunting and diverting

assignments. More than an aquacade of myths, "Metamorphoses"

weaves its dramatic magic from the moment King Midas (Raymond Fox)

goes off on his quest to undo the curse of his golden touch. The need

we have to resolve our relationships with those we have loved and

lost, and for undoing the wrongs we have done to those we love, are

among the notable themes in this episodic tapestry.

One of the most compelling of these ancient tales finds us


on a psycho-analytical session between a young spoiled teen Phaeton

(Doug Hara) and his pool-side therapist (Lisa Tejero). Wearing


and yellow swimming trunks and paddling about in his yellow inflatable

raft, Phaeton tries to make sense of his relationship with his


father, the sun god Apollo.

While many of the stories reveal the power of love and sorrow to


us, they also serve to remind us how, when tragedies occur, there

are extraordinary powers constantly conspiring to test our mettle

and our wings. The tale of Alcyon (Louise Lamson) and Ceyx, lovers

separated by fate but reunited as sea birds after death, is a moving

tale of metamorphosis through love. Notable is the twice-told tale

of Orpheus and Eurydice (Erik Lochtefeld and Mariann Mayberry). An

initial telling of the story in its traditional form, as one of


longing, is followed by the far more nuanced and compelling thoughts

on the myth created by poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

Among "Metamorphoses" more unsettling passages is the tale

of a father who unwittingly commits incest when his daughter, Myrrha

(Anjali Bhimani), is tricked by the gods. Trickery by the gods is

common in these tales. In its most luminous moment, Hermes (Kyle Hall)

and Zeus come to earth disguised as beggars, turned away by the


our fate is redeemed by two humble peasants.

The 10-member cast, most of them long-time members of the Zimmerman

ensemble and familiar to Princeton viewers of "The Odyssey,"

are all exemplars of the director’s sometimes cute, but more often

dazzling, directorial conceits. Many of these conceits are contained

in costumer Mara Blumenfeld’s ravishing and rib-tickling apparel.

While Zimmerman credits Freud, Jung, and James Hillman for part of

her text, we can credit Zimmerman for finding a way to bridge two

worlds, by honoring the ancient while embracing the modern,


the present by the looking at the past. "Metamorphoses" is

story theater at its finest and most engaging, especially appropriate

in the unsettling world we have recently inherited. Four stars. Don’t


— Simon Saltzman

Metamorphoses, Circle in the Square Theater, 1633 Broadway

at 50th Street, New York. $30 to $75. Tele-Charge at 800-432-7250

or 212-239-6200.

Top Of Page

George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New


has auditions on Wednesday and Thursday, March 13 and 14, for


roles in its mainstage production, "Public Ghosts, Private


the culmination of a three-year New Brunswick Community Bridge


The new play is based on people and events that have shaped the


over the past 180 years. Seeking to cast Mr. Coriel, a Caucasian man

35 to 55 years old; Hammond, an young African-American man, 18 to

25 years old; Maria, a young Mexican woman, 16 to 25 years old; and

Miguel, a young Mexican man, 18 to 25. For appointment, call the


hotline at 732-846-2895, ext. 206.

Disney Theatrical Productions is looking for children

of all backgrounds, ages 8 to 12, who can sing, dance, and act to

play the African lion cubs, Simba and Nala, in the Broadway and future

productions of "The Lion King." Auditions take place at the

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC, 1 Center Street, Newark),

on Saturday, March 16. Come to learn the last verse of "I Just

Can’t Wait To Be King" and be prepared to move and dance. Bring

a current photo or snapshot stapled to a resume. Children must be

accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. March 16 sign-in

begins at 9:30 a.m.; auditions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No sign-ins

after 11 a.m. For directions only: 888-466-5722; Casting Information

Line: 212-827-5450.

Top Of Page
Call for Entries

Voices Chorale announces its 2002 Children’s Musical


Contest for children ages five to twelve. Written copies and cassette

recording must be submitted with a $5 processing fee to Voices


Contest, Box 404, Pennington 08534. Deadline is Monday, April 1. Call


Parachute Modern Art Gallery, an artist-run gallery


innovative art in all media and located in the Stockham Arts Building,

10 Pennsylvania Avenue, Morrisville, is seeking artists for June


Call 215-295-8444.

The Writers Room of Bucks County, Doylestown,


has a screenwriting competition for established and emerging


talent in the Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and


Hollywood screenwriters Mark Rosenthal and Stephen Susco, both with

Bucks County roots, are the final round judges. First prize $1,000

and use of the Writers Room for one year. Cat Hebert is competition

coordinator. Entry fee is $30 per screenplay. Deadline: Submissions

must be postmarked no later than May 1. Contest guidelines at

Volunteer Call

The New Jersey Jazz Society seeks volunteers for its


2002, at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, June 21 to 23.

Work 1/2 day or more and receive free admission for the entire weekend

($70 pass). Call Fran DePalma-Iozzi, 973-226-6043.

Mercer County Wildlife Center, seeks volunteers to assist

with wild birds and animals who become injured, ill, or displaced.

Training provided. Orientations are given Saturday, April 6, and


April 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the center on Route 29, south

of Lambertville. Call Kathy Coffey at 609-219-0090 or e-mail

Capital Health System seeks volunteers at both locations

in both patient and non-patient contact areas. Junior Volunteers for

the summer program for teens over 14 years old are also needed. Call

Lynne Kluin at 609-394-6690.

Breast Cancer Resource Center seeks volunteers to help

with mailings, health fair, and in the office. Call 609-252-2005.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

Dancing by Peddie Lake, a seven-week class in Swing,


Waltz, and Latin dancing taught by Candace Woodward-Clough begins

Thursday, April 11, at 112 Etra Road in Hightstown. $110 per couple.

Preregister at 609-443-8990.

YWCA Princeton offers summer programs of children arts

and crafts programs including puppetry, jewelry, and needlework. Call

609-497-2100 ext. 317.

Top Of Page

Community High School of New Hope-Solebury offers a


tour of "Sopranoland" in Secaucus on Saturday, April 6. They

will meet actor Chris Lucas, learn about life on the set and Soprano

trivia. About two dozen sites from the television series will be seen.

Reservations by Tuesday, March 19. $82 includes bus, tour, lunch,

and gratuities. Call 215-862-3619.

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