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Metamorphoses: A Play Paperback – March 27, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

First performed by students at Northwestern University, where playwright Zimmerman is a professor of performance studies (she is also Manilow Resident Director at the Goodman Theater in Chicago), this play opened at Broadway's Circle on the Square Theater in March 2002. Based on Ovid's transformation myths, the play subtly mixes the ancient stories of pathos and tragedy with contemporary language, humor, and thought, all enacted in and around a large pool of water in the center of the stage. The themes of love, the inevitability of change, and the human ability to adapt to change are timeless, as is amply demonstrated by the sometimes eerie closeness of a vignette to the original lines from Ovid, which still manage to resonate with modern viewers. The volume includes the script, a production history, and photographs from several productions. A valuable addition to either drama/ theater or mythology collections, this play by Zimmerman, who has also adapted and directed The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, and others, is highly recommended for public, academic, and high school libraries. Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh Performing Arts
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Writer-director Mary Zimmerman's lovely, deeply affecting work . . . recaptures the primal allure of the theater. . . . It shows that theater can provide not just escape but sometimes a glimpse of the divine." --Time


"Funny one moment, achingly sorrowful the next, Metamorphoses somehow manages both to lift you out of the moment you're living in and speak to it with piercing directness." --Wall Street Journal


"With its emphases on love, loss and the transforming powers of memory and the imagination . . . the production has been reducing calloused New Yorkers to sobs."

New York Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (March 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810119803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810119802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the play that should have won this year's Pulitzer, and if there's any justice, the Broadway production will take away a Tony. I can only imagine what this is like onstage, but even in script form it is a poetic, witty, and extremely moving experience. How Zimmerman managed to condense Ovid's sprawling work into this deft stage piece is a mystery, but she has constructed a fluid, fascinating play that transcends genres, race, religion, and politics to speak to the hopes and desires of all human beings. Like "Copenhagen" and "The Invention of Love", this is one of those plays that reminds me why I love live theater. There is hope after all! Buy it, read it, cherish it--and if you're lucky enough to be in New York, GO SEE IT!
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Captivating, unique presentation of Ovid's masterpiece. Since it's a play and a very imaginative presentation, you'll really have to use your imagination. Definitely worth knowing about and a wonderful chance to prepare yourself for seeing a performance.
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I remember being part of the technical crew for this play in high school, and I loved being a part of it.

The play is based off of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and features stories from Greek mythology. Some of the stories include King Midas, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Eros and Psyche. The play itself is amazingly written by Mary Zimmerman, and features lessons of love, dreams, fidelity, and faith among many things. Each of the stories take place in or around a built pool, which provides much of the action and reflection for the characters and audience. This play is fantastic for high school and college; highly recommend!
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This is not a play script in the traditional sense. This is part of the new trend of director-centered theater, where concept is all. In this case the concept is a pool, where several of Ovid's tales of strange-changes-in-the-night take place in and around. This is one of the better examples of concept theater, and it won many awards on Broadway (but not for script). Reading the original Ovid is preferable to reading descriptions of how the pool should be lit, or what music plays through scene changes. But seeing it? If done right, this material could be incredibly visually striking.
I'd advise stage directors to take a peek. This is director-friendly material. Actors, playwrights, and general readers I'd steer towards Ted Hughes' TALES FROM OVID.
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Did this play with my high school drama group. We couldn't have the pool it calls for, but it hardly mattered: the treatment of the myths is often light and charming, the dialogue plays well and there is a wealth of emotional seriousness underlying it all. Highly recommend to any drama group.
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Bought this play after seeing the show twice, performed by different casts. This is one of the most amazing plays out there, I highly recommend it for all actors or people who enjoy theater. Go and see a live production after you've read it!
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I ordered this title in advance of seeing a revival of the original Zimmerman-directed production at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.. Zimmerman is noted for the power of her theatrical environments, and so you'd think you'd *really* have to see it live to understand her pretty undeniable genius. But this script is beautifully done, and the balance between dialogue and stage directions conveys the affect and atmosphere of the live event in a way I wasn't expecting. I would feel very confident teaching this play without my students being able to see a full, live production. Zimmerman is as much a wordsmith as she is a brilliant director. Whether you love theatre, or whether you love Greek mythology, this is a beautiful, emotionally profound rendering of Ovid's stories that manages to find light and contemporary resonance at the same time. If you've never read or seen any of her works before, this is a great place to start. And although the text can't substitute for the live event, the reading experience is surprisingly satisfying. I'm an academic, so I'm supposed to assess value based on historical and conceptual significance as well as aesthetic success--but this is a play that moves me on a deep, human level. When you read or see Zimmerman's work, you think: *this* is what theatre can do. Read this play!
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This is one of the most amazing theater pieces I've ever experienced - and I've seen a lot! Challenging to pull off as most of the stage is a pool of water. I saw it, then took my family to see it, then told my daughter, then in college back east, that she had to take her finals early and get on a plane for the closing performance - and she did. This play inspired me to do a painting and my daughter to compose a stunning piece of music - song and painting are titled WHIRLPOOL. If this play is ever mounted anywhere you can get to - GO!
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