March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Lansing Community College concocts a pleasing, witty evening of mythological magic in 'Metamorphoses'


Friday, July 22 — From the ancient origins of contemporary words to modern slants on
mythical stories, Lansing Community College's production of Mary Zimmerman's
“Metamorphoses” brings vibrant physicality to classic Greek myths, with challenging
and entertaining results.

Similar to last year's Summer Under the Stars show “Arabian Nights” —
which was also a Zimmerman adaptation directed by Deborah Keller —
“Metamorphoses” focuses more on retaining the heart and essence of Ovid's stories
over the literal text.

While many narrated verses sound like verbatim translations, other
scenes clearly are not. In one scene, the god Apollo's son Phaeton, lies on a
psychiatrists couch, explaining his distant relationship with his father. In
another scene, pool noodles stand in for spears and swords to re-frame a bloody
and epic battle into post-post-ironic comedy. Not every Greek myth makes it to
the stage, but most should be familiar to audiences.

Throughout the stories, actors slink, crawl and dance to disco versions
of classical music, while others impressively climb and swing from aerial silks
cabled to the ceiling as they ascend from Hades or descend into the smoky pool
below. Unlike other versions of “Metamorphoses,” the frequently used 'pool' in
center stage and the focal point of many stories, does not contain real water.
Instead, a smoke machine periodically fills the space, with equally effective

Although there is a wide range of stage experience among the cast members
— from freshman to theater program veterans — all feel equally committed to
Keller's vision of experimental surrealism grounded in familiar emotions. The
myths are beautiful and timeless, and “Metamorphoses” breathes new life into
each tale, while providing every actor with a moment to shine.

(The show includes some adult content and runs about an hour and 45
minutes with no intermission.)

Lansing Community College Summer Under the Stars
8 p.m. Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24
Dart Auditorium
Free (but donations are accepted)