Friday, March 14, 2008

Twistin' by the pool

Just a quick note about Metamorphoses, a new production of Mary Zimmerman's acclaimed adaptation of Ovid by the fringe company Boston Actors Theater, through Saturday at the BCA. I missed Ms. Zimmerman's extravaganza on Broadway, where Ovid's gods toyed with their human playthings like so many rubber duckies on the ever-changing waves of an Olympian (if not Olympic-sized) swimming pool. This watery grounding - along with the cast's dance and circus skills - by all accounts worked more than seven wonders with Zimmerman's good-but-not-great adaptation; but alas, Boston Actors Theater tries to make a similar splash with just three small basins in the BCA Black Box, and few of its cast impress unduly with their acrobatic chops. Still, Ovid's tales of love and fate still haunt, and Boston Actors Theater sometimes does convey something of their tautly erotic irony. I was glad to see Joey Pelletier (who endured my direction without complaint in the recent Blowing Whistles) play convincingly both the broad (Silenus) and the brokenhearted (Orpheus), but even busier was the amusing Jonathan Overby, who brought a light comic touch to several roles. Christopher Lyons likewise scored in two different veins of vanity as Narcissus and Phaeton, while Apolonia Davalos managed to somehow hold our sympathy as the incestuous Myrra (perhaps Ovid's strangest heroine of all). The most poised member of the cast, however, was 11-year-old Barbara Woodall, who brought a sad, disturbing languor to her impression of the demonic Hunger. Uneven it may be, but in its best performances this Metamorphoses transmutes into something more than it at first appears.

1 comment:

  1. I missed the production at the BCA.

    I saw Zimmerman's production in 2000 at the Intiman in Seattle. It was mesmerizing, but I remember talking with the folks I saw it with after the show.

    We wondered how the script would play without that wonderful pool that was deep enough have bodies slip into the darkness and shallow enough to look sometimes as if characters were walking on it.