General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2006-07 > 2006-10-19: Metamorphoses

News Release - October 19, 2006

MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Contact: Ross Beck, Director of Public Information & Marketing        T: 707-468-3012, Fax: 707-468-3008, Email: rbeck@mendocino.eduFile: NR-Theatre-Metamorphoses


WHAT:    METAMORPHOSES opens at Mendocino College!
Based on the myths of Ovid    Written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman    Directed by Reid Edelman and Leslie Saxon West    Choreography by Leslie Saxon West and Susan Era


WHEN:    November 9-19, 2006.  Thursdays at 7:30 PM; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM; Sundays at 2 PM; Saturday November 18 at 2 PM

Center for the Visual & Performing Arts, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah.

TICKETS:    $15, $12 students and seniors. Advance tickets are available at the Mendocino College Bookstore and the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah. For additional information, call (707) 468-3172


Photos Attached:
MC-Metamorphoses-001.jpg: : (left-right) Stephanie Paige, Ben Kohler, and Marie Frey-Frei in Metamorphoses (photo by Evan Johnson)

MC-Metamorphoses-003.jpg: : (left-right) Ben Kohler (Hermes), Lily Frey (Eurydice) and Bryan Arnold (Orpheus) in Metamorphoses. (photo by Evan Johnson)

MC-Metamorphoses-019.jpg: (left-right) James Taylor (Silenus), Marie Frey-Frei (Midas’ daughter) and Sheridan Malone (King Midas) in Metamorphoses (photo by Evan Johnson)



Ukiah, CA –  The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department and Repertory Dance Company will perform Metamorphoses, Mary Zimmerman’s exquisite contemporary adaptation of Ovid’s ancient myths for two weeks only, November 9-19, 2006.  The production, originally written and directed by Zimmerman, premiered in 1998 at Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company.  Subsequently, the play was performed on Broadway and at regional theatres throughout the country, earning Zimmerman a Tony Award for best direction of a play in 2002.  The Mendocino College production is being co-directed by professors Reid Edelman and Leslie Saxon West, with choreography by Leslie Saxon West and Susan Era.  The show will feature music from the original Broadway production, by permission of composer Willy Schwarz.

Set in and around a large pool of water onstage, the play blends the ancient and the contemporary, bringing Ovid’s tales to stunning visual life. As Edelman explains, “the play celebrates the timeless human need to tell stories.  While many may not have read Ovid’s original text, people are sure to recognize the stories: King Midas (Sheridan Malone) who turns everything he touches into gold, the musician Orpheus (Bryan Arnold) who descends into the realm of Hades (Arlo Raitt) to retrieve his love Eurydice (Lily Frey), Narcissus (Jason Briseno) who falls in love with his own reflection...”  According to Time Magazine, the play “recaptures the allure of the theatre…it shows that theatre can provide not just escape, but sometimes a glimpse of the divine.”     

Zimmerman’s approach to these ancient stories is surprisingly contemporary.  In one scene, Phaeton (played by Bryan Arnold), the son of Apollo, floats on a raft in the pool while complaining to his therapist (Alicia Littletree) about his troubled relationship with his father.  In another scene, Midas brags to the audience about his fancy new pool and lectures on the importance of family.  Meanwhile, his lonely daughter (Maria Frey-Frei) bounces a ball, jumps rope and otherwise tries to get the attention of her self-absorbed father.   In the myth of Erysichthon, a greedy businessman (Arlo Raitt) suffers a horrible curse after carelessly cutting down a tree that is loved by the goddess Ceres (Alicia Littletree).  He is ravaged by the spirit of Hunger (Ivory Reid) in one of the production’s many striking visual moments.  The Wall Street Journal described the play as “funny one moment and sorrowful the next” and the New York Times stated that “with its emphasis on love, loss and the transforming powers of memory…the production has been reducing calloused New Yorkers to sobs.”

According to Saxon West, “a goal for this production has been to embrace new artistic challenges.  I was originally drawn to this piece because of the exciting opportunity to choreograph dances in water.”  Zimmerman uses the ever shifting medium of water as a metaphor for the transformations in Ovid’s stories.  Another rewarding challenge has been the collaboration of dancers and actors and the collaboration of Saxon West and Edelman as co-directors.  Zimmerman’s original concept for the production was highly physical.  Saxon West and Edelman have taken her approach even further, embracing the element of dance as a primary theatrical element.  According to Edelman “there is a very fine line between dance and acting in this production.  The forms merge together into vibrant and highly physical mode of story-telling.”    

The 23 performers in this production include both dancers and actors, all of who play multiple roles in this ensemble oriented production.  In addition to those listed above, the show features several veteran Ukiah performers such as KC Dill, Ian Stigliani and Lori Stubben.  Principal dancers include Jason Briseno, Robbie Cristiani, Tamara Frey, Sam Fulk, Katie Hardy, Maya Kageyama, Sandi Lang, Stephanie Paige, Gilly Platt, Ivory Reid, Penelope Sinor and Kirsten Turner.  The production will also introduce several talented newcomers to main-stage college theatre productions, including Ben Kohler and James Taylor.      

College theatre technician Larry L. Lang has designed the scenery and lighting for Metamorphoses.  The mix of classical and modern costumes have been designed and constructed by the college’s costuming instructor Kathy Dingman Katz, with the assistance of her students.  The stage managers are Melissa Erickson and Ryan Mahan.  David Wolf is the sound engineer and property artisan.     

In order to allow people to see the action occurring in the pool of water, the audience will be seated on the stage, surrounding the pool on three sides.  The main audience section of the college’s Center Theatre will not be used.  Edelman explains that “this seating arrangement creates an intimate environment in which audiences share in the ritual of live theatre; audience members will not only watch the play, but also watch each other watching the play.”  Patrons are advised to purchase tickets early, as this innovative seating arrangement does limit each performance to only 88 spectators.    

Metamorphoses opens on November 9, 2006.  Performances will run through November 19. Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM.  There will also be a special Saturday matinee on November 18 at 2 PM.  Tickets ($15 general; $12 students and seniors) are available at the Mendocino Book Company and at the Mendocino College Bookstore.  This production does contain mature subject matter and some nudity.  Parental discretion is advised.  For more detailed information about the production, including age appropriateness, please visit the college’s Theatre Department web site at  For additional information, call (707) 468-3172.

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Created: October 19, 2006 @ 03:41 PM
Last Modified: October 19, 2006 @ 03:41 PM


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