Story by Kathleen Parrish
Photos by Will Cohea
Need more proof that Lafayette College is a collaborative space? Check out Metamorphoses in the Weiss Theater at Buck Hall this month, and see what faculty and students from a variety of disciplines can deliver. Directed by Suzanne Westfall, professor of theater, the play, which is based on the myths of Ovid, takes place in a pool of water.
Jeffrey Helm, associate professor of mechanical engineering, designed a complex structure that holds knee-deep heated water. Kirk O’Riordan, associate professor of music and director of bands, composed the music and performs it live on saxophone and keyboards, while students perform choreography by Adam Bramson ’20.
Technical director Alex Owens and his crew constructed the indoor pond, through which gods and mortals step, swim, and destroy as they tell their stories, drawn from Greco-Roman myth. Lighting designer Stephanette Schwartz-Smith provides the ambiance through projections and special effects.
The production is supported by a team-taught course, Making Theater, in which students explore many aspects of myth with Westfall and Markus Dubischar, associate professor and chair of classical civilization studies. From Ovid’s original Latin epic poem to works of art, psychology, and music, to modern and post-modern adaptations by artists like England’s poet laureate Ted Hughes, students spent the semester exploring the resonant meanings of myths that haunted our ancestors and echo through time.
Metamorphoses selects nine tales from Roman poet Ovid’s famous collection, focusing on the power of love and how we humans define ourselves, transforming with challenges and sometimes even assuming new shapes. Midas learns the tragedy of the “golden touch”; Orpheus journeys to the underworld to retrieve his bride, Eurydice; Phaeton, son of the sun, asks dad for the keys to the car so he can drive the golden chariot across the sky.
The play runs April 20-22 and 27-29 from 8-10:30 p.m. at the Williams Arts Campus. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for faculty and staff, and $3 for Lafayette students.