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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 32
AUG 18 - 25, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Berkeley Rep's "Metamorphosis" Recounts the Lives of Greek Gods

Feb 08, 2019
by Renata Polt
The Roman poet Ovid's (43 BCE-17 BCE) 15-volume poem, Metamorphoses, recounts the lives--often violent, sexy, romantic, magical, amusing—of the Greek gods, providing material for countless later story-tellers.

Such as, for example, Tony-award winning Mary Zimmerman, whose play Metamorphoses is currently on view at Berkeley Repertory Theater. The text is based on poet David R. Slavitt's translation of the myths

It's not the first time that Metamorphoses has appeared at Berkeley Rep; it was there back in 1999-2000, but without the pool of water. More on that later. Zimmerman's imaginative adaptations of other classics, such as The Arabian Nights and Treasure Island, have been on view at the Rep also.

The play recounts many stories, some more familiar than others. There is, for instance, the story of Midas, the king whose one wish is that everything he touches should turn to gold. You can imagine how well that turns out—try eating a golden banana. Or Narcissus, who falls in love with his reflection in a pool and is turned into—well, a flower whose name we all know. Some of the stories interlock. The ten actors—some, like Steven Epp and Louise Lamson, familiar from other Berkeley Rep shows--all play several roles. The tales range from raucous to tragic and everything in between.

But—about that pool. It's shallow but large, taking up the greater part of the stage. Each of the characters walks or falls or somehow lands in the pool. Sometimes, as with Narcissus's story, that's totally appropriate. With other tales it feels forced. I spent a lot of time—the play runs only 90 minutes, with no intermission—worrying about how uncomfortable the dripping wet actors must feel until they can change into something dry. The program notes explain how the actors are made comfortable, and on the accommodations provided to make the costumes, makeup, etc. hold up to repeated dunkings. Still--

The individual tales are consistently amusing or tragic or emotionally involving in some way. Mara Blumenfeld's costumes are charming, sometimes surprising (including that of Eros, which consists of a large pair of wings—and nothing else). I found the pool device a bit gimmicky, but if you can get beyond that (and if you don't sit in the first two rows, where each seat is provided with a little towel, in case of spashing), Metamorphoses is an enjoyable night at the theater.

The play runs through March 24th. For tickets and further information, phone (510) 647-2949, or click on Special rates for persons under 35 and for service personnel are available. Ask for these and other discounts.


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