Saturday, November 13, 2010

METAMORPHSES @ Cleveland State University

METAMORPHSES @ Cleveland State University

METAMORPHOSES, meaning "changes of shape,” is a classical narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid, and is considered to be a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin Literature. It the history of the world from its creation. The writing, which uses the mock epic form, follows an arbitrary writing pattern in which scenes are not always linked together in numerical order, leaping from story to story with little connection.
The CSU production is a script originally written by Mary Zimmerman, the Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. The local production is directed by Holly Holsinger.

With the purpose of staging a show that “reminds us of what it mans to be human, the director states, “These are our stories. They belong to us. They echo from the past. The have become ingrained in our psyches.”

Vocal projection is often weak, the music sometimes drowns out the speaking voices, and the line meanings are not always clear. In spite of these weaknesses, the play is well paced, the humor level is high, and the technical aspects are outstanding, especially scenic designer Russ Borski's set with a water-filled pool and shimmering gold infused back walls. As for the performers, Stephen Farkas has a nice touch with comedy and Lew Wallace makes some excellent character transitions.

Capsule judgement: The production is a daunting task. It requires a level of acting sophistication which, in some cases, is beyond the performance levels of the cast.