“METAMORPHOSES:” MAKING A SPLASH IN WEST HARTFORD


BONNIE GOLDBERG

As ambitious projects go, West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park has set the theatrical bar quite high and then proceeded to soar over it. The theater has built a grand pool of water on stage in which to dip your toes or plunge in fully clothed as it tells the fascinating tales of “Metamorphoses,” myths of Greek and Roman origins as originally penned by Ovid in 8 A.D. and adapted in 1996 by Mary Zimmerman.

 

Until Sunday, July 1, you are invited to experience a series of vignettes about the gods and mortals who sought immortality and love, who felt greed and lust, who gave in to temptations and wanderlust as a cast of ten talented actors -- Amelia Randolph Campbell, David Nate Goldman, Harrison Greene, Melissa Kaufman, Troy Peckham, Jillian Rorrer, Justin Sease, Quinn Warren, Eric Whitten and Ashley C. Williams-splash, float and come close to drowning in the shimmering waters as they retell ancient tales relevant to today’s world.

 

The gods in all their power and frailty come to earth in a series of stories that will provoke and tease, stimulate and sadden, inspire and educate. You’ll remember King Midas and his prized treasury of wealth, the classic workaholic 24/7, who when offered a boon from the gods chooses a golden touch. His heart’s desire proves particularly painful when he touches his beloved daughter and turns her into a pure and precious metal.

 

The pool turns tempestuous for King Ceyx who leaves his bride Alcyone to go off to sea only to be killed in a storm. But her love and devotion persuade the gods to let Iris the rainbow goddess transform the tragic pair into birds who will forever fly the heavens.

 

Other tales involve Phaeton who demands of Apollo, his father, the keys to his chariot so he can race across the sky, a story he relates to his therapist when he almost destroys the earth by flying too close to the sun, of Cupid with his blinded eyes and his search for true love, and of gods who punish Erysichthon by sending him Hunger so no amount of food satisfies his craving for nourishment, after he cuts down a tree sacred to Ceres, the goddess of the harvest.

 

Mourn with Orpheus who loses his bride Eurydice on their wedding day and travels to the Underworld to reclaim her, only to lose her not once more, but twice. Enjoy the many disguises that Vertumnus assumes in his wooing of the nymph Pomona and how he eventually wins her love by being himself. Within this story is the tragic tale of Myrrha who is cursed to love her own father in an unnatural way and is punished by melting away in a pool of water, dissolving like her tears.

 

Sean Harris directs a talented troupe who are almost all making their Playhouse on Park debuts in this imaginative work that spans centuries with its universal themes of love, life, greed, loss, and all their wisdoms and warnings. Original music is composed and played by Richard Hollman.

 

For tickets ($22.50-32.50) call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860-523-5900, ext. 10 or online at www.playhouseonpark.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

Dive into this transforming pool where Mary Zimmerman plays lifeguard and the god Poseidon reigns supreme. There’s no need to bring towels or shower caps.

 


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