(Fifth in a series about creating a new production of “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman at Georgia Shakespeare, summer, 2013.)
Yesterday was about words. Today is about bodies.
The first line of this play is, “Bodies, I have in mind, and how they can change to assume new shapes.” That might be a reference to shape-shifting Greek gods (the play is based on myths), but for me, it’s all about actors. Ten actors play all the roles in “Metamorphoses”. And there are a lot of roles. We play humans and gods and forces of nature, like Sleep and Hunger. We are men, women, children, adults, animals and plants. We are constantly changing stories, changing clothes, and somehow, changing shape.
I love to watch actors find the right shape for a character. Park Krausen and Travis Smith transform into birds in the story of Alcyone and Ceyx. Watching them discover their dance into flight is magical.
Kristin Butler contorts herself deliciously to play Hunger, on the prowl for a new victim.
If you ask me how it’s done, I could go into a whole explanation of physical training, athleticism, dance, gestural vocabulary and daily warm-ups. Or I could tell you it’s magic.
Be honest: which answer do you really want?