Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Five of the 10 cast members have been involved with Metamorphoses since its original Chicago and Broadway productions, while another three recently performed their roles at the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago. The entire cast works together in the seemingly effortless spirit that only comes from extensive rehearsal and comfort with the material and each other.
Zimmerman has selected Greek and Roman myths that examine the interplay between the gods and human beings. In some of them, men and women make decisions that anger the gods, never a good idea: that behavior can lead to a man destroying himself through ravenous hunger and a young woman driven to desire a man she must never have. Other couples show kindness to each other and the gods reward them: a woman reunited with her dead husband in a new physical form, a long-married couple granted their deepest wish.
Some of the stories are familiarMidas and his desire to turn everything he touches into gold; the musician Orpheus, who travels into the underworld to rescue his dead bride Eurydice; the marriage of Eros, god of love, and the human Psychebut Zimmerman's treatment brings out the psychological underpinnings within the narratives.
For all the stillness and seriousness of these tales, Zimmerman also has fun with the retelling, assisted by her design team. Costume designer Mara Blumenfeld outfits Iris, goddess of the rainbow, in a sheer, rainbow-tinted skirt trimmed with lights and the god Hermes in a leather jacket over his classical garments. The lighting design by T.J. Gerckens produces lightning and other effects through the use of an elaborate chandelier.