Metamorphoses, the first show of Princeton Summer Theater’s 2015 season, opens this Thursday at the Hamilton Murray Theater on Princeton University’s Campus. A retelling of a series of ancient Greek myths, director Maeli Goren’s inventive, physical production focuses on play, human connection, and the transformative power of storytelling.
This joyful production of Mary Zimmerman’s Tony-Award nominated play brings Ovid's classic tales to life through a mixture of contemporary and ancient styles, the use of musical accompaniment, and a world of shifting fabrics. An exploration of change, love, and the persistence of the human spirit, Metamorphoses takes classic stories and makes them achingly relevant to modern audiences.
Starring Princeton Summer Theater’s 2015 company: Ross Baron, Maeve Brady, Caroline Hertz, Bits Sola, Evan Thompson, and Brad Wilson. The show is ensemble-based, with each actor transforming to play a wide variety of roles throughout. Directed by Maeli Goren, with original music by Steven Tran.
Metamorphoses, based on the myths of Ovid, written and originally directed by Mary Zimmerman. Opens Thursday, June 18. Performances run June 18-21 and June 25-28. Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Special talkbacks with the cast follow every Friday evening performance: join us on June 19th for a talkback lead by Princeton University theater professor and director Tim Vasen. On June 21st, after the 2pm matinee, celebrate the beginning of PST's 2015 season with a cupcake reception sponsored by House of Cupcakes!
Tickets are $27.50 for general admission, $22 for students and matinees. We also offer season subscriptions for only $75 (a 32% discount!), which ensures a reserved seat for each of our four wonderful main stage shows this season. To order tickets, visit http://www.princetonsummertheater.org/metamorphoses/ or call the PST box office at 1-732-997-0205.
Get a sneak peek of the show -- watch the trailer now!
Hello! My name is Steven Tran, and I am the composer/music director and pianist for Metamorphoses. I graduated from Princeton University just two weeks ago, where I was an active member of the theater community as an actor, director, and musician. You might have heard my original scores this past year in the Lewis Center’s productions of The Magic Rainforest (also directed by Maeli Goren) and Red Noses.
The incidental score for Metamorphoses is largely inspired by 20th century classical piano music – Bartok, Debussy, Glass, and Rachmaninoff, for example. The result is a piano/synth based score that is occasionally grotesque and dissonant, but also ethereal and mysterious.
One of the techniques I used in the compositional process was the prepared piano, pioneered by John Cage in the 1940s. Cage was an avant-garde composer who experimented with placing objects such as screws and bolts in between the strings of the piano in order to completely change the timbre and sound of the notes – I experimented with this technique in order to create an entirely new, bizarre, and unexpected soundscape for certain moments of the show. Keep an ear out, and you might hear some pretty unique sounds coming out of that onstage piano!
Beyond these classical inspirations, however, you might also hear some folk music, electronic music, and musical theater inspired moments: Maeli and I wanted to create an eclectic musical world that changed with each of the stories, but that was unified by a sense of wonder and mystery.
The compositional process for Metamorphoses was entirely in response to the actors and the world they created. I sat in rehearsals for the first week simply observing the development of the blocking and noting what the sound of each moment felt like. From there, it was a matter of artful improvisation, conversations with Maeli about what did and did not work, and a bit of trial and error until we arrived at just the right musical language for each story in Metamorphoses.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing my music with you!
Hello! My name is Ross Barron and I'm a first time company member at Princeton Summer Theater. At Princeton, I'm a rising junior and an English major. Originally, I'm from Boulder, Colorado and grew up acting in school productions and spending my summers backpacking in the Rocky Mountains. With that in mind, it's a little strange to be spending a majority of the summer inside a theater -- but my PST experience (though devoid of Colorado mountains to explore) has already been extremely enjoyable.
The first show of our season, Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, is a show based in the ensemble -- meaning that all company members are onstage and participating in practically every scene. Last summer, (in a departure from my normal backpacking adventures), I studied acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. There, like in Metamorphoses, the teachers put a very high emphasis on the integrity of the ensemble. At Guildhall, the teachers would often say, "A group of performers must become the instruments of an orchestra before they become an ensemble. Each instrument must be on the correct tempo, must pay attention to the piece's dynamics, and only then may it offer its own unique sound to the chorus."
The comparison of an ensemble to an orchestra, in my mind, only becomes complete when the ensemble can agree on a single objective. In a piece of music, there is an objective sound to be achieved and within a piece of theater, there is an objective idea, moral, story, or feeling to be communicated. The incredibly exciting thing to me is that the experience of each audience member watching a piece of theater might be completely unique!
I'm someone who is easily moved by art. I find myself lost very quickly in stories and characters, and each day that I get to contribute my instrument and bring a narrative to life is a gift. I'm so very lucky and grateful to spend the summer with Princeton Summer Theater!
Come fall into a story with us! Best wishes,
I grew up on Greek mythology the way some kids grew up on The Simpsons, so naturally I was thrilled to be asked to direct Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses at PST this summer. These stories taught me all kinds of useful things. I learned about forgiveness from Eros and Psyche. Orpheus taught me about art's relationship to loss and death. Baucis and Philemon helped me recognize the infinite possibilities of love. These stories help light the dark and winding corridors of human experience with compassion, scope, and imagination. The chance to share them with others and to explore them with the absolutely fabulous PST 2015 company has been a gift.
As an ensemble, we have had to work hard to maintain a constant collaborative spirit as we approached a text that is usually remembered
for the enormous pool of water onstage in the iconic original production at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. As you will see, we decided to ditch the pool in favor of a grown-up surrealist playground that shifts and changes along with the stories we present. This production aims to be simple, vulnerable, elegant, innovative, and humorous as Zimmerman's text. With a few faded bedsheets, six chairs, seven hula hoops, five buckets, original music, some surprise tricks up our sleeves, and six actors who have given all of themselves to this process, I hope this play can ignite your imagination the way it ignites mine. We look forward to sharing with you!
Tickets for Metamorphoses can be purchased using Tixato, our user-friendly ticketing service, or by calling the box office at 1-(732) 997-0205.
Hello!!! My name is Maeve Brady, and this is my third summer as a company member here at PST! I just graduated from Princeton with a degree in Psychology and a certificate in Theater, and I am so glad that my first job post-grad is back here at PST.
This season we start off with Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, a wonderful adaptation of Ovid's collection of myths by the same name. Rehearsals started as soon as the summer began -- we even had a read through of the script and began discussing ideas for the production before the year here on campus had officially ended. I knew from that first read through that this was going to be a challenging, invigorating, and exhilarating process, and so far I have not been disappointed. Within the first three days of rehearsal we did a stumble through of almost the entire show.
This is a type of fast-paced, physical storytelling that I am not all that used to, but I've loved diving in with my fellow actors knowing that we're all in this together. Now that we are moving to our rehearsal space in New South while our beautiful set is being built, it's time to focus on polishing what we have created so we have a finished product to show you in less than two weeks!!!!
Looking forward to seeing you there!
We could not be more thrilled to introduce PST's 46th season -- a series of four challenging, engaging, and entertaining plays.
This year’s season will focus on themes of adaptation and myth, exploring how stories are retold and passed down through time. It is a season that celebrates the magic and relevance of these myths for today. This season not only shows a timelessness to problems of love and relationships, but it also explores the power of these stories to move us to the depths and peaks of human emotion, to sorrow and to laughter. We can't wait to share these stories with you!
METAMORPHOSES by Mary Zimmerman, Directed by Maeli Goren
PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw, Directed by R.N. Sandberg
EURYDICE by Sarah Ruhl, Directed by Wesley Cornwell
In addition to our four main stage shows, PST also will present its annual Children's Show and a series of Young Artists' Workshops. Stay tuned for more information on our children's programming!