(Part of a series about creating a new production of “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman at Georgia Shakespeare, summer, 2013.)
On the first day of any rehearsal process, actors introduce ourselves by saying our names and the names of the characters we play. For “Metamorphoses” I introduced myself as the person who plays “all the old women.” People laughed (which, I’ll admit, was nice), but I was telling the truth.
Because this is an ensemble piece, we each play many roles (as in life, which is also an ensemble piece, but that’s a topic for another day). Not all my characters in this show are old. But I think I’m most intrigued by the old women, because in real life, I am an old woman in training.
I used to be sensitive about my age, but something has shifted in the last few years. I don’t cling to youth. I am learning to be older. I have passed a certain age, and I like it here. I still have productive decades ahead of me (God willing), but I can see old age on the horizon. I touch it daily when I hold my mother’s hand. I catch it in my reflection when I pass a shop window. I see it in my daughter’s eyes as she looks away from me, toward her own future.
A play like this allows actors and the audience to step in and out of many ages, freely, effortlessly, with just a twist of the story line. We change, we metamorphose, from one stage of life to the next. What will become of us? Who will we become? Are our bodies and our spirits the same age?
There is so much to explore.