BareStage Productions Presents: Metamorphosesby Sydney Johnson on Oct, 13 2012
Just the other night marked the premier of BareStage’s fall performance, “Metamorphoses”, a production based on David R. Slavitt’s translation of The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Filled with laughs, thought-provoking dialogue, and witty takes on Greek mythology, this show is sure to please even the most diverse of audiences, which we can always expect to find here at Berkeley.
For those unfamiliar, BareStage is a student-run performing group at Cal, the first of it’s kind on campus. It invites both new and experienced performers to participate in shows such as “Metamorphoses”, where students can develop their writing, acting, musical, and even directing skills.
Upon seeing this production, one would never assume that this show was student organized and directed however. It ran as smoothly as any professionally directed production I have ever been to, and the actors executed their roles exceptionally. Director Emma Nicholls, a third year here at Cal, has proven that ripened age and a degree are not necessary for putting on an outstanding show. Originally written by Mary Zimmerman, Nicholls and the rest of the BareStage cast transformed the “Metamorphoses” script into a fluid sequence of stories that provide entertainment for the audience, as well as profound explorations into various takes on “the creation and evolution of life”.
The opening scene set the tone for what was to come of the next hour and a half, with the actors flowing in from all different directions, coming together to present both emotion and commotion. The set itself was rather simple, only a few wooden platforms, a bathtub, and small swimming pool, yet never was there a reason for anything more. The water itself seemed to be one of the actors, as it morphed from being a washbasin, to a feast, and later the ocean. The aqueous prop was used in almost every scene, and although a commonplace item, it nevertheless stimulated the passion reverberating from the actors. Turns out the glitz and glamour of Broadway is not the only form of engaging theatre!
Throughout the performance, the audience is exposed to several popular Greek myths, and within each a new mood and moral. From the heart-wrenching tale of Midas, to the hysterical act between Pomona and Vertumnus, viewers can expect to find just about everything that live performance seeks to attain.
What really fascinated me about this production was just how relatable so many of the themes presented were to issues still being reenacted in Hollywood, and even experienced by people today. Man goes after girl and makes a fool of himself in the process, girl feels controlled by her society in terms who she can and should love, money and greed blind people from others suffering, and the ever popular cliché, one never knows what they have until its gone. These lessons and plot lines seem to follow us throughout time, despite the evolution of society as a whole. It is this insightful conversion from ancient tale to modern entertainment that we find at the BearStage performance of “Metamorphoses”.
“Metamorphoses” will be playing October 12-13 & 19-20 at 8pm, and October 14 & 21 at 5pm. The performance is located at the Cesar Chavez Basement in the Choral Rehearsal Hall. Tickets are available online at tickets.berkeley.edu, over the phone at 510-642-3880 or at the door prior to the show (online presale: STUDENTS $8, GENERAL $10/ at the door: STUDENTS: $10, GENERAL $12)
For more information about “Metamorphoses” or BearStage, visit