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Metamorphoses Reveals Humanity's Dynamism

The Berea College Theatre Department will bring a readaptation of Ovid's classic to Jelkyl Drama Center on November 12-13 and 17-20.

Jyoti Kulangara, Stephen Drabicki and Tessa Ritter rehearse

“Metamorphoses” promises to be dynamic and rapidly evolving, evoking suspicion, love, betrayal, and, ultimately, transformation. This readapted play form Mary Zimmerman, a professor of theater and romance studies at Northwestern, is structured to change abruptly in 10 deeply evocative scenes. Actors make changes on stage to prevent breaks in the fluidity of motion, intending to convey a perpetually occurring metamorphosis.

Directed by theater professor Richard Sears, “Metamorphoses” boasts an impressively large cast including theater veterans Justin Dearing, Cassie Galena, Clay Goodpasture, Sarah Griffin, Jonas Friddle, Stephen Drabicki, Jason Bergstrom, and Laura Jordan, Dorrie Provenok, Mark Cashwell, and Tessa Ritter. Contrary to standard practice, several first year students will perform lead roles as well. Valton Jackson delivers in "Eros and Psyche" and Jyoti Kulangara plays the devious, yet victimized Myrrah in "Myrrah's Revenge and the Sufferings of Aphrodite".

“Metamorphoses” promises to delve into comedy and drama simultaneously. Actress Kirsten Rogers commented "It’s a comedy drama, but its never just drama and never just comedy. That is one of things most special about it." Scenes explore and reaffirm the Greek struggle with love, pride and their divisive, painful, and comical results. "Phaethon and the ripples" toys with the idea of a Greek god manifest in the personality of a modern youth. Phaethon, Apollo's son, while relaxing by the pool, complains of his father’s unwillingness to loan him the keys to the chariot. Any comic relief, however, is juxtaposed against scenes invoking lust, love, and incest, constantly forcing the audience to readapt. The evocative scene “Myrrah” features a young girl, just coming into her sexuality, who falls in love with her father. As the scene unfolds, Murrah subsequently seduces her masked father with her nurse’s explicit approval. The escapade continues until her father realizes Murrah's true identity and in a moment of insanity compounds the error.

Despite consistent moral and emotional contradiction, Zimmerman's unique adaptation ends in a "brilliant and beautiful silent satisfaction" according to Rogers. The perversion, passion, lust, and personal weakness all culminate in a "wholesome model of love" Rogers adds. The final scene, "Baucis and Philemon", is the only one exhibiting uncompromised goodness which, because of its inherent divergence from “Metamorphoses'” theme, poses no presuppositions and offers no conclusions.

* “Metamorphoses” will be offered for convocation credit on the 12 - 13, 17, & 19-20.

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