Tag Archives: myths

When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers

Pittsburghers are wandering about these days, idling away the days and hours until The Happiest Day of the Year: Super Bowl Sunday.

My advice for how to make an evening go speedily by (whether or not you’re a football fan): Go to the Pittsburgh Public Theatre and see their current show, Metamorphoses.

Production still from Metamorphoses at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Pictured: J.T. Arbogast and Tami Dixon; Photo credit: Ric Evans

It’s a short show (90 minutes, no intermission) but full of fun. The play is a compilation of Greek myths as told by Ovid, but rendered in semi-modern situations.

The gimmick of the show — much talked about in reviews and previews — is that the stage is constructed as a real, live, water-filled pool. This is beautiful to see, especially with a throne or small arrangement of flowers perched on the edge, reflecting in the water and glowing in a spotlight. But it also plays a critical role of its own in all the stories.

The performers are funny and perfect, as well as wonderfully fit — much skin is visible. Direction is brisk, sets are minimal and evocative, the script is both true to the original text and modernized for today. It’s a lovely production, and I recommend it highly.

As the show makes clear, a prevailing truth of myths is that the gods are fickle, but they have rules. If you abide by the rules and respect the gods’ power, you will succeed, or at least survive. Here’s hoping the Steelers stay on the good side of the Football Gods this weekend — don’t tempt the Fates, make no displays of hubris, show lots of sportsmanship, and make sure Tomlin doesn’t overdress for the big game (Cold Coach = Victory) — so the gods will look kindly on them in the Super Bowl.

See the review of Metamorphoses in this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper, and find show details and ticket info at the Public’s website.

(Photo details: Production still from Metamorphoses at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre; Pictured: J.T. Arbogast and Tami Dixon; Photo credit: Ric Evans. Source of the quote in the title of this post: Oscar Wilde.)