Metamorphoses: from Ovid to Britten

~posted by Renee Beale, KMFA part-time announcer

I recently watched the performance of Metamorphoses at Zachary Scott Theatre and absolutely enjoyed the performance.  I am always so pleased to find Austin’s cultural community willing to take risks.

Metamorphoses is a presentational play based on the poem written by the Roman poet Ovid .  This modern adaptation, written by Mary Zimmerman, is a unique presentation with a very simple set that revolves around a pool. Vignettes from Ovid’s poem are told utilizing this pool in interesting ways… for example, the play itself allows for modern costuming, such as the bathing suits worn by the young and beautiful female narrators of King Midas, mixed with the classic Grecian togas such as worn in the vignette about Alcyone and Ceyx.  (I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the nouveau riche King Midas appearing on stage in full western regalia of the modern day rancher.  It  brought regional humor with which the audience connected.)

Ovid inspired composer Benjamin Britten to write a solo piece for Oboe based on six of the mythological characters in Metamorphoses, and of course inspired playwright Mary Zimmerman to create her version of Metamorphoses being performed now for Austin audiences to enjoy.  To that I say: enjoy, marvel at the antiquity of the poem, and how fortunate we are that this great work has survived through time.

~posted by Renee Beale, KMFA part-time announcer
(photos courtesy of Zach Scott Theatre)

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