School Of Theatre’s ‘Metamorphoses’ Professes Love’s Timelessness

Penn State’s School of Theatre is back with its first mainstage show of the academic year: “Metamorphoses.”

Premiering in 1998 and written by Mary Zimmermann, the Tony Award-winning “Metamorphoses” is based on a classic poem of the same name by Roman poet Ovid. The play revives age-old myths of Midas, Aphrodite, and Phaeton, among others.

“Metamorphoses” weaves through the legends like chapters in its holistic story. Attempting to capture what it means to live, the show’s scenes paint pictures of love —¬†and how the loss of it can devastate one’s humanity.

Opening with the story of Midas’ self-absorption, the play centers around a father who forgoes his daughter’s affection and is later left striving for it.

“The myths in this play are about those two staggering and confounding pillars of human experience: love and grief,” Sam Osheroff, the show’s director, said. “Without love, there can be no grief. Indeed, some say that grief is the price of love.”

Further instantiating the show’s themes, Penn State’s Pavilion Theatre was transformed by the company. The thrust performance space now features an enormous pool of water, filling the majority of the playing area.

The play “literalizes” its title with the symbolic use of a pool as its core setting, according to the show’s dramaturg, Arushi Grover.

“In some ways, we stand ankles-deep in the cool rush of a scene we’ve seen before,” Grover said. “Reflected in this watery surface is our past, rooting us in the now and then.”

Projecting no particular timeframe, the play epitomizes its episodes’ timelessness in its conceptual costume design and expressive choreography. The cast’s movements onstage flow in the same manner as their shapeless togas or the water they perform in.

“We tech-minded moderns might dismiss mythology as a primitive and failed attempt to explain the world,” Osheroff said. “To ignore myths this way is to miss their deeper cultural and functional place in the human psyche.”

Although the retold stories were created long ago, “Metamorphoses” makes clear that their themes remain as relevant as ever. Warnings of destructive grief and neglect are not confined to ancient times, nor are celebrations of charity and embrace.

“Sure, science might explain the origins of the universe,” Osheroff said. “But sometimes it takes a story, a myth, to unravel a heartache.”

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with a runtime of roughly 90 minutes. There is no intermission.

Student tickets for the evening performances can be purchased for $12.50, while regular admission is $20. Performances will run until October 15 in the Pavilion Theatre.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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