Play Review: "Metamorphoses" by Mary Zimmerman

Categories: Play

The play being discussed in this critique will be Metamorphoses written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman. The URI Theatre department produced its own version directed by Steven Raider-Ginsburg. It was performed between the dates of February 21-March 3, 2013. Costume design was by David T Howard, Scene design by Patrick Lynch. Lighting design was handled by Christian Wittwer and Sound design was by Michael Hyde. This production shows students continuing their development as actors thru the form of Theatre.

Metamorphoses is a play that is staged as a series of vignettes.

It was originally based on the poem by the Roman poet Ovid. He uses ancient Greek Mythology to explain the events happening in the vignettes. Gods like Poseidon, Hermes Americo Lanni. Or Hades and Midas played by Brandon Gailliard. Zeus and Bacchus were played by Benjamin Hill. Who could forget Aphrodite played by Catherine Poirier.

Metamorphoses is not a conventional arrangement and has a non-linear point of view. A linear dramatic action may be set as with the following steps, one- A state of equilibrium, two- An inciting incident, three.

- Point of attack of the major dramatic question, four- Rising action, five- Climax, six- Resolution and seven- New state of equilibrium. First one event, then the next and the following one after that and so on and so forth. Metamorphoses does not follow this laid out set of steps and no single analysis can make it follow this formula. However each of the separate stories embedded within the play is in itself a “well-made play” within a play.

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Each story can be easily followed and analyzed through a look at the seven parts already established. An example that can easily demonstrate and lay out the structure is the story of Erysichthon described within Metamorphoses.

When it comes to the actual production of the play there are several differences between individual performances of this play. The original play was done on water, I understand that would not be possible here. The lighting however did work for most of the play. The one part in particular I didn’t like was for the lightning strike, maybe make the lighting fixture in the shape of a lightning bolt? Set design was another area I took particular attention to during the play. When it got dark in between scenes that’s when I knew changes were being made but I can honestly say I never was able to see anyone making changes even though you knew they were there.

The costume design for this play was also another challenge to create I saw. The play tended to jump a couple centuries at a time with leads to vastly different wardrobe changes. Like in the beginning they were wearing very basic white sheets, yet underneath you could notice the other layers they would be needing for later. The sound however was probably the biggest drawback for this play. Maybe it’s because the speakers aren’t the greatest but it seemed at times the special effect sounds were quitter than the actors, you couldn’t even notice it at times when you were supposed to.

Overall this was a very satisfying Theatre performance for me to see. It was my first but probably will not be my last, I look forward to enjoying more.

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Play Review: "Metamorphoses" by Mary Zimmerman. (2016, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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