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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  1,425 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Called by Time the "theater event of the year," Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses brings Ovid's tales to stunning visual life. Set in and around a large pool of water onstage, Metamorphoses juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image to reflect the variety and persistence of narrative in the face of inevitable change. Nominated for three 2002 Tony A ...more
Paperback, 100 pages
Published March 27th 2002 by Northwestern University Press (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,304)
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Zimmerman's play watches better than it reads, though some of her poetry is indeed beautiful. Being a puppetry and movement based director, her scripts largely serve as accompaniments to her productions and reading them one is acutely aware of the lack of dialogue and character interaction, and the overwhelm of exposition. She re-tells Ovid's stories well, if perhaps not terribly interestingly, the one exception being her comparison of the traditional Orpheus myth with Rilke's re-telling of it. ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: plays_theatre
Metamorphoses is my all-time favorite play. Hands down. This play is beautifully composed and breathes new life into Ovid's work. Mary Zimmerman does not use all of the stories from the original, but does an excellent job of re-imagining several of the tales. As an aside, if you are ever so lucky as to see the play - please do. I was fortunate enough to see it when it was directed by Ms. Zimmerman and it was absolutely amazing. There was not a dry eye in the house. This is an incredibly touching ...more
Jun 08, 2015 K.m. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
I've seen this play twice, both beautifully staged/designed/blocked but reading it was lackluster. Maybe I was seduced by the visuals. The most interesting parts of the reading were the descriptions of the staging and directions, that and the Orpheus and Eurydice section (which included both Ovid's and Rilke's versions of the story). Most of the modernized retellings didn't particularly add to or grow off of the original story and the narration had a tendency to fall into simplistic explanations ...more
Siti Hajar Mohd. Khairi

Metamorphoses: A Play
by Mary Zimmerman
120 pages
North Western University Press. $14.99
isbn13: 9780810119802
(Ages 14 & up)

Midas and the Golden Touch, Alcyone and Ceyx, Narcissus, Orpheus & his lyre and Vertumnus & Pomona are just the many stories retold in this book but with a modern twist. Written in play-format, Mary Zimmerman retells the Greek myths and transforms the stories with a more modern understanding. The title "Metamorphoses" is connected
I enjoyed the series of vignetes. Clever cosmogony. Fun play. Oh Midas, you rich man. Midas reminds me of one question containing Midas' name in the exams Asenath let me help grade. Alcyone and Ceyx--With mercy from the gods, you two are reunited and transformed as seabirds, and fly together toward the horizon. I like the visual. Hunger and curse of the insatiable appetite. My favorite quote. "The godless are always hungry." Orpheus and Eurydice--Eurydice returns to the Underworld unknowing to O ...more
Mar 01, 2008 Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like plays?
Shelves: freshmen2
This book was a collection of greek myths rangin from medusa to orpheus. "coincidentally" my group for my wrting arts project was the orpheus group and still "coincidentally" the name of the orchestra group the ninth grade attende carnegie hall to hear. but still, instead of the myth, zimmerman modernly adpated the myths and actaulyl made a play with them that i hae yet to see. i couldnt really get how they were "that" modern but they were pretty interesting to read because of characteres i neve ...more
Problematic to give a rating to a play that is as design-heavy as Zimmerman's Metamorphoses ultimately is, and my review is influenced by a production whose design was executed very well. That said, having read Ovid's Metamorphoses I can say that Zimmerman has done a freaking fantastic job synthesizing Ovid's work into this play. Zimmerman focuses more on the beauty of Ovid than the brutality, but whatever, someone else can write a play about entire dining halls having their bowels gored by a ho ...more
I read this play for a class on Ovid, so I've actually translated the original text for many of these tales. It was fascinating to see how many details from Ovid's version of the myths that she kept (the exact meal in Baucis and Philemon, for example), while so much was altered for the stage and for humor, etc.
I think this would be incredible to see live, especially with the large pool of water as the centerpiece of all of the action. I love what she did what she did with this, and it's always
Jun 01, 2008 Tiffanyy added it
Shelves: books-o7-o8
This book, I read in writing arts and it is composed of many short stories that relate to Greek mythology. All the short stories were influenced by Greek myths and then, were then modernized. These stories kept the same characters of the original Greek myth and the same theme and plot as the original one. I actually liked this book because I like reading modern stories and had a liking of Greek myths since they were pretty interesting, I do not really like reading plays since this book is in pla ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Manshui rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Play Audience Members
Metamorphoses is a beautifully written play where each story seems very catchy and detailed. It relates back to Ancient Greece and many of its famous tales. The illustrations of the photographs really captures the actions and color of the stories. I would recommend this book to any individual who's interested in plays and play audience members because by reading it you can experience many deep moments a play can portray. The author Mary Zimmerman wrote this book to show how the protagonists and ...more
I've only read a few scenes from the play but they retell the Greek myths and stories in such interesting ways. I particularly liked the story of Phaeton and his relationship with Apollo, except that it's Phaeton telling his therapist about the relationship.
This book is a play that consists of many different plays and mythical tales. The plays are about Greek Gods and contains other well-known Greek tales. Many themes were present in the plays that involved people like Midas and his greed. How the world was created was mentioned and the theme love and romance was popular as well. Other themes like violence, death and hate were seen and connected with one another to creates stories with motivating plots. The book was a guide to creating our own play ...more
Metamorphoses contains many plays relating to Greek gos such as Zeus and Eros. Each play has different theme and I always learned new techniques from them. For example, in my writing arts class, our teacher taucht us on how the conversation between two chracters seems to be realistic. When my group made a play, it did not sound normal like the play in metamorphoses. I also learned that each play contains 100s of themes. In Eros and Psyche, we listed about 30 themes in a little amount of time and ...more
A beautiful and magical piece of theater that retells several of the myths from Ovid's seminal poem. It is a play about transformation and perception -- a gorgeous testament to how we, as a society, have come to ignore our mythic side despite the fact that we, as a people, have not changed at all since antiquity. If "Metamorphoses" plays as well as it reads, I'm sure it is a fascinating, engaging, and lovely evening of theater.

Several years ago I wrote a play that similarly brings together the
Metamorphoses: A play is composed with many different tales and myths based on Greek gods. It's stories are short, but the message it sends out to the reader is very big and meaningful. It's importance can help humans today make the right choice and live the way they should. All these myths gives a message to the reading that will always mean something after reading it. Its myths never get old and just gets stronger with more meaning as time passes.
I learned from this book that temptation is ve
Daniel Chan
Intriguing how the text seems to have a life of its own, independent from the setting.
"myths are the earliest form of science...
it has been said that the myth is a public dream, dreams are private myths. unfortunately we give our mythic side scant attention these days. as a result, a great deal escapes us and we no longer understand our own actions. so it remains important and salutary to speak not only of the rational and easily understoof, but also of enigmatic things: the irrational and the ambiguous. to speak both privately and publicly."
-therapist, p. 67-8.

"let me not outli
Kelsey Marshall
One of my favorite plays and performances of all time. Spectacular.
Meeland Mansour
What an amazing interpretation of classical myths!
I assistant stage managed a production of this show the spring semester of my junior year of college. If I was only able to do one show for the rest of my life, it would be this one, no questions asked. This is one of the most beautiful shows I've ever written and seen performed. It has a wonderful mix of tragic and comedic stories. It can be beautiful at one point, telling the tale of two lovers lost forever, and then turn into a terrifying tale of greed. Zimmerman's writing is spectacular. It' ...more
Brilliant retelling of Ovid's classic.
Tiffany Lee
I read the Midas play and heard about other plays they are really interesting. I love how they have lessons at the end of each play! Its entertaining and i realize that every play has a little bit of a tragedy. My favorite play is Midas because it's about a greedy king name Midas and how he wished everything he touched turn to gold. Until things got out of control and he regrets everything. This lesson is about not being selfish and be great full with what you got, or else karma happens. So that ...more
It's a quick read but very well done - I would definitely be interested in seeing this play staged.

This is an adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses and very cleverly modern and ancient, simple and complex, humorous and deeply moving.

Not much to say except that if you enjoy mythology and are interested in modern theater, this is definitely worth a read.
Metamorphoses is a play that combines ancient Greek mythology with modern humor. They play revolves around a pool of water in the center of the stage which shows the connection between the acts. This ancient Greek myth with a modern twist is not your average read. The scenes have various greek myths in a different and random order. They depict the myths in the point of view of a person living in the 21st century. They use ancient ideas with modern language which makes this an interesting read.
I've seen this performed several times (both in 2001 and this past year), and it's one of my favorite productions of anything. I've never actually owned the script! But all the same.

So much of this play is performance, with the water, and the choreography. I don't really remember if it's possible for that to be anywhere near as evocative on the page. Those things, I guess, aren't, but many of the statements inside the stories are beautiful and worthwhile to read as well as perform.
METAMORPHOSES is a book that consist of several plays. Each play has a moral and a message behind it. Most of this plays are about the god and goddess and how they got their name. It is written in the format of a script in which it includes stage directions, description of characters, and anything an actor would have to know when doing the play. For instance, there was this goddess that was wearing a rainbow skirt to represent the fact that she was the goddess of the rainbow.
jackie sze
This book is a play that contains many short stories related to Greek mythology and it tells you the theme and plot but in different ways. Most of it is mostly about greed. The characters in this book is modernized but is influenced by Greek mythology. I liked this book because, Greek mythology is very interesting because it is more like fantasy than realistic. I recommend this book to people who likes plays and likes short stories about Greek mythological characters.
This book was very intresting. It was a play about many different mythology stories that contain stage directions clothing actions.etc. This story decribed the power that gods had and the stories behind it. It also included a little about the rulers Rome but that was not till the last part of the book. There are many themes that take place in this story which are rape, revenge, love, violence, and plenty more. It was an intresting story and I enjoyed reading it.
This is my all-time favorite play. It holds a deep, touching, sentimental value for me, and by reading it, I, too, went through several of my own metamorphoses. I highly reccommend this play for light reading, or any theatre group to perform. It is a very beautiful, highly revered work of art that will forever stay apart of me.

"Let me die the moment my love dies. Let me not out-live my own capacity to love. Let me die still loving, and so, never die."
A delightful dramatization of Ovid's Metamorphoses. The script does seem very concept-based; it would be difficult to produce this play as written without relying heavily on the original design concepts, written into the fabric of the work. But the structure does, ultimately, work for me, and the myths chosen are eloquently expressed. I haven't seen a production of this yet, but I would definitely recommend reading the script.
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Mary Zimmerman is an American theatre director and playwright.
More about Mary Zimmerman...
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“Let me die the moment my love dies.
Let me not outlive my own capacity to love.
Let me die still loving, and so, never die.”
“A: The soul wanders in the dark, until it finds love. And so, wherever our love goes, there we find our soul.
Q: It always happens?
A: If we're lucky. And if we let ourselves be blind.
Q: Instead of watching out?
A: Instead of always watching out.”
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