SMC previews Metamorphoses

Three goddesses appear on the fixed marble-like set with hands above heads, and a translucent drape connected at the sleeves is revealed as they slowly lower their arms. Moving in unison, a soft music playing in the background helps narrate the story of the creation of man. Metamorphosesis an award winning adaptation of Ovid's poem, originally directed by Mary Zimmerman. Santa Monica College's theatre arts class presented their version of the play with a one-hour preview Thursday March 24, 2011, with theatre professor Jaine Jones as director.

The play is organized in a series of classical Greek stories of mortals and immortals with powerful life lessons to be learned.

Each story deals with a personal situation between two people, or between a person and a God, and all share their own themes and bits of wisdom. Most deal with love, others with learning to be patient, and some with learning to be satisfied with what you have.

"I first saw the play in 2002 at the Taper and I fell in love with it," said Jones. "It's filled with such important knowledge of myths and is educational for the audience."

With no changes in set design, the power and emotion of the script was enhanced through choreography, music, lighting, and through the acting.

Stephen Wattrus, who is first introduced as Zeus, took the role of six other characters. "I had the most fun as Erysichthon, the guy who ate his foot," said Wattrus. "I envisioned him as a sleazy salesman type of guy, with sort of spider-like movements."

Wattrus has been in three SMC productions prior to Metamorphoses, and is also the stage assistant for the production of Urinetown.

Choreographer Lauren Blair directed all of the stage moves and used the set as inspiration. "Once we figured out the set, the inspiration really came from the fabric that was used to resemble water. I wanted to incorporate those emulated water movements to capture that light feeling," said Blair.

The slow and sensual movements were a compliment to the blue fabric, spread over the center of the stage that played its part as water during the production.

The simple steps and walls had a Greek style to them, as if the setting were in the forest or underworld where the tales took place. Soft melodies and lighting effects set the mood of the stories by taking the audience to a relaxed state of mind.

"I just love how the sounds and the lighting are so erotic to the senses," said Wattrus.

Metamorphoses will be in production until April 3rd.