The Artists Speak

Constellation artists share about their experiences in the pool of life that is Metamorphoses!


4 thoughts on “The Artists Speak

  1. Allison Arkell Stockman

    Welcome to Metamorphoses!

    It is with great joy that Constellation Theatre Company brings you these everlasting myths. The Roman poet Ovid wrote Metamorphoses, which translates as “Transformations,” in 8 CE. The fifteen books that comprise this master work explore romantic love, greed, devotion, selfishness, insatiable appetites, loss, vanity, grief, abstinence, ambition, forbidden desire, spirituality, generosity, passion and forgiveness.

    Mary Zimmerman developed her play based on the tales of Ovid between 1996 and its Broadway run in 2002. She interpolates the episode of Eros & Psyche from Apuleius’ The Golden Ass, as well as Rainer Maria Rilke’s 1908 interpretation of Orpheus & Eurydice. In her characteristic style, Zimmerman balances the sacred and the profane. The ancient is juxtaposed with the contemporary.

    The script calls for a pool of water, which offers unique and challenging staging opportunities, as well as abundant symbolism. Water is the natural element without which there would be no life. It embodies the idea of transformation – in one moment violent, in another soothing. Water inhabits so many forms, from tears to rain to the vast depth of the ocean. Throughout time it has been the key element in purification rituals, initiation rites and baptism. In water we may receive the divine spirit, experience forgiveness, or gain a fresh perspective on the world. Water makes possible rebirth, redemption, even revelation.

    Ovid’s myths and archetypes resonate through the ages both in waking moments and in our collective unconscious. They may be interpreted as cautionary tales, warning us of the power of the gods or forces larger than ourselves. They encourage us to greet the world with compassion and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. They invite us to open our hearts to love; to open our minds to the enigmatic and the ambiguous; to open our souls to our mythic side; and to open our eyes to our own potential for transformation.

    Joseph Campbell wrote, “Mythology helps you to identify the mysteries of the energies pouring through you. Therein lies your eternity.” Both Ovid and Zimmerman begin this epic with an invocation of the gods. The Woman by the Water tells us of Creation, “One way or another, people came – erect, standing tall, with our faces set not to gaze down at the dirt beneath our feet, but upwards toward the sky.”

    This is the beauty of the human condition – our desire to look upwards; to find our place in the expansive, infinite universe; to give meaning to the images created by constellations of stars that shine for thousands of thousands of thousands of years.

    Allison Arkell Stockman
    Founding Artistic Director

  2. Megan Dominy

    As an actor in the show, I can honestly say there is nothing I’d rather be working on. Despite the many challenges that come with performing in a pool (cold, dripping costumes, multiple shower days, cold water up nose in unfortunate dramatic moments), the show is such a delight. I feel Mary Zimmerman has really found a beautiful balance between comedy and drama, and the show embraces what all theatre is at its core: storytelling. There is no pretense in the show–we have narrators telling us these tales and actors becoming the flesh embodiment of them. We are all in the room to tell and be told a story, and through these stories, to hopefully gain understanding of real life.
    My favorite moments of the play are probably the last. What can I say? I’m a sucker for stories about the redemption, the possibility of transformation through love. Maybe it is also my recent engagement (opening night proposal!), but the choral lines at the end choke me up every night.(Thank goodness I don’t have to say them alone!) I know love has transformed and changed me; that life is more full because of the people in my own. I think it is Zimmerman’s valentine to the world– despite strife, despite fear, despite polarized beliefs, can we challenge ourselves to live our lives through love? It’s a tall order, but what a world if we could…

  3. constellationtheatre Post author

    I write this on Monday, May 14th. We just completed our first 8 show week. As I was falling asleep last night, happy and tired at having pulled that off with my team – the cast and phenomenal stage management squadron – I thought I should try to fill in what happens between scenes. (Actually, I’m rising to Katie Atkinson’s challenge that our blog posts not all be love-fests.) The show itself can be seen. But backstage, well, you had to be there. So…

    Top of show. Check my pocket for what I need as a washer woman, give Dan the alarm clock, go stage left and dance to Tom Teasley till the lights go down. Scoot to the hidy-hole stage left when it goes dark.

    (Top of show happens. I exit after Midas.)

    Exit stage left, do not run into anybody changing stage left, drop laundry basket in the loading dock, make a beeline for the dressing room. Get rid of head scarf, start wrapping “Iris” dress. Put on flower head piece, red lipstick, turn around and head through the loading dock. Cross to stage right, yield to sea battle people headed the other way at high rates of speed. Get way up on the step for the God Platform, do not be seen.

    (First Iris entrance happens. I exit.)

    Lisa Lias as Iris, at rest with Ashley Ivey as Sleep
    Come off, get alarm clock, let Kat get by, wait for it, nod at Dan to open the door.

    (Second Iris entrance happens. Exit.)

    Make a beeline from stage right to the loading dock and back to the dressing room. Jewell hugs the wall as I blast through – “Hi Jewell! Bye Jewell!” Talk to Megan about how it’s going while undressing completely. Leotard, black body suit, wig, pony tail. Get dress and bathing suit, head to loading dock, place dress and suit. Dance around to “Kingfisher,” let Keith past with the mops, head up the stairs. Wait for Matt to enter, go to entrance 6. Wait for it, nod at Kat to open door.

    (First Hunger entrance happens. Matt carries me off.)

    Get the hell off poor Matt. Dance to Teasley. Get on the low lighting platform. Wait for Jeff to say “Hey, little girl!” Get on Matt’s shoulders. Pull up on lighting boom so Matt can stand.

    (Second Hunger entrance. Exit, knife in hand.)

    Turn the dam knife around so it doesn’t stick anyone, run like hell, pull wig off, start zipper. Throw wig, knife and fork on prop table while presenting zipper to Kat. Get 100% naked asap. Into bathing suit and dress. Keep track of the music. Run. Hit stage left, keep tying dress, lose the pony tail, recompose so the entrance looks as if I’ve been relaxing without a thing to do, and right about then it’s time to enter.

    (First entrance in Orpheus. Walk off sadly, then…)

    Jump into shade bag, wait for the #3 doors to be open, enter.

    (Second Orpheus entrance. Exit shadily.)

    Get out of bag, head through the crossover. Go to dressing room. Get cap for nursemaid and the blindfold. Adjust dress. First moment of the show where I don’t have to go straight back onstage. If Misty and Megan are still here, then I’m not late for the nurse entrance. But in short order, head stage right with a towel or robe. Place that out of the way. Wait for “part two: the solution.” Peek out and watch Megan go about 3 steps. Go to door 5 and burst in.

    (First Nurse entrance. Exit with Megan’s wet wrap and Matt’s dry coat. Do not get the dry coat wet…)

    Wrap up stage left. Wait for Matt to start screaming. Go to door 5. As soon as Matt hits the wings, enter.

    (Second Nurse entrance. Exit.)

    Bomb through the loading dock, drop off nurse cap and the towel, shake out hair and retie dress while going to the crossover. Get the floaty for Phaeton. Doors open at #3.

    (Phaeton entrance.)

    Back to dressing room, wrap up, wait for Keith to start singing, head stage left.

    (Eros entrance.)

    Drop bow and arrow at prop table, get back up to door 5 for “answering the door” bits. Go to entrance #6.

    (First Baucis and Philomon entrance)

    Drop pot and spoon, dive under the platform for #3, line up for candles.

    Does this demystify the show? I always think we should have an alternate ticketing option that allows people to watch from backstage. It’s non-stop traffic from “places” to blowing out the candles. If I try to “run the film” of the show in my head, half of it is a blur of passing people in the dark. And I lot of fun. (Sorry, Atkinson.)

    – Lisa Lias

    1. constellationtheatre Post author

      The Meta Experience- by Ashely Ivey

      Well my fellow cast mate Lisa Lias’ awesome blog post has piqued my interest in actually documenting my backstage track during the run of

      Metamorphoses- here goes-

      Arrive 6:30pm
      6:30-7:15 shave face and warm-up
      7:15- run fight call as fight captain- watch Myrra/Aphrodite hair pull- Erysichthon kicks me in my face and rolls me into pool- SEA BATTLE!
      dry off, then into costume for top of show!
      8pm Showtime!
      Wish the gents and the ladies a great show, wait in loading dock for my first entrance as Silenus.
      High five Lisa, Katie, and Megan on their way to their first entrance.
      Get wine bottle and chips- On stage as Silenus.
      Exit after scene, hand off wine bottle to ASM Dan, get towel to dry off a little, reenter with Baccus for end of Midas scene. Exit carrying Jade with Jefferson once clear of sightlines put Jade down, get down the stairs and hug the wall so Matt can clear past me, rip off wet Silenus costume throw in bin, run to loading dock for costume change into Henchman. Change complete, go to the hidey-hole secret water entrance and get into the water to wait for sea battle entrance.
      After the sea battle up and out of the hidey-hole get towel from Dan,simultaneously drying off and taking sopping wet henchman costume off while running towards the loading dock for my next quick change into Sleep.
      Sleep scene done then into dressing room for a quick dry off then back to loading dock for Narrator costume change, quick hair check in the bathroom, then grab mop for Halcyon Days song.
      Onstage for Halcyon Days song into Erysichthon scene. At end of Erysichthon grab axe and costumes in the black out at the end of scene and exit off stage. Hand off costume to ASM Jewel, store axe under light boom, grab snake glasses and hand puppet go to hidey-hole and get in the water for snake entrance.
      Onstage for snake bite. Exit out the hidey hole entrance, while at hole strip down to bathing suit, get into shade bag.
      Onstage for shades.
      Exit Orpheus scene, climb out of shade bag throw into bin, get to dressing room to change into Vertumnus necklaces, bracelet, bandeau, and leafy crown, run to backstage bathroom where my wet costume is hanging put on pants then run like hell to get my suit case and cane from under the spiral staircase to make my entrance as Vertumnus. Hopefully enough time for ASM touch up to my costume make sure it is on correctly.
      Onstage as Vertumnus. Exit out with Katie help her slip off Pamona wings then into dressing room.
      A Break! During Phaeton scene catch breath and get into Narrator costume for Eros and Psyche.
      At end of Phaeton scene clear innertube off set and hand off to ASM Kat backstage.
      Onstage Eros and Psyche. Exit with dagger to quick change into Philomon wig and cloak and cane in the dressing room then back onstage for the end of show!


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