Sheer Delight and Fanciful Tales Unite in ANW’s Metamorphoses

Nichole Javier, Raphael Goldstein. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

The whimsical compendium of Greek myths found in Metamorphoses makes just the right vehicle for a return to the magic of live theatre.  As if we need an excuse, A Noise Within understands that we should be charmed, not burdened with the trauma of the day.  And co-artistic director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott provides just the right notes to guide us through some of the most iconic of Ovid’s tales as compiled by Mary Zimmerman in this Tony-award winning tale.

For the tale that reads as an allegory for the beginnings of human-kind, Zimmerman envisioned a pool of water that changes from tide pool to bath and even the roiling sea. And, for this purpose A Noise Within has created a glistening, shallow pool, created by set designer, Francois-Pierre Couture. And the story begins with King Midas (played by co-artistic director, Geoff Elliott), trying out his newfound power to turn everything he touches into gold.  

Although Midas sets the action in motion, the pool that changes from pool to wash basin, River Styx in the underworld, and even the ocean occupies the center of attention. For most of the tales, what happens in the water provides the cause for each turning point.  Perhaps the most spectacular moments come from the story of Alcyone (Trisha Miller) and Ceyx (DeJuan Christopher), when Ceyx is lost at sea. The stylized storm is none-the-less gripping as all the cast contributes to the mayhem that results in Ceyx’ drowning.

Many of the myths are familiar, but many are not.  Each one, however, propels us farther into the depths of the human psyche, until we meet Midas again, chastened by his greed, escorting his daughter, once turned to gold, now transformed by his change of heart.

Director Rodriguez-Elliott imaginatively transforms one story into another; with the help of Ken Booth’s imaginative lighting and Robert Oriol’s sound and fury, and the waters roil or ripple in accord with the demands of the play. In designer Garry Lennon’s imagination, typical classical togas intermingle with suit coats or modern-day garments to create the impression of a time out of time. 

When the cast of nine completes the cycle, we imagine we have been on an extensive journey in time, where, instead, a cast of thousands has populated our minds and we are reassured….metamorphosed, you might say, of our redemption.  It is a fulfilling theatrical experience not to be missed!.

Metamorphoses runs Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2 & 8 pm; and Sundays at 2 pm through June 5th. Tickets start at $25.00, with student rates at $18.00, available through online ticketing at Or call 626-353-3100. A Noise Within is located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107.