This week, Theatre Erindale will open their 2018- 2019 season with Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Directed by David Matheson, Metamorphoses is an epic survey of famous Greek myths and legends. The fourth-year theatre and drama studies students tackle a unique challenge in their first mainstage show, acting in and around a 10,000-liter pool that has been constructed in Erindale studio theatre. The Medium sat down with cast members Karen Scora and Marissa Orjalo, who both play one of the three fates, to discuss their characters, the production process, working with a unique set, and bringing this fantastical show to life.
In Greek mythology, the fate Clotho spun the “thread” of human fate, the fate Lachesis dispensed it, and the fate Atropos cut the thread, which determined the individual’s moment of death. In Metamorphoses, the fates act as narrators of the lives and deaths of the other characters in the play. When asked about her role in the show, Scora says, “in the rehearsal process, we’ve been looking at the fates as the people who are creating the stories for the first time. The fates are three constant figures throughout who narrate and take part in the stories without being the stories themselves. They weave them together.”
The show is a collection of little stories that frame the themes of transformation and what it means to have love and to lose love. “They are small segments with a bunch of different characters, which makes it great for our cast of 20 people because it means there are parts for everybody in our first big show. And each story is a different kind of love,” Orjalo explains.
One of the more fantastical elements of the show is the fully functioning pool that has taken over the Erindale studio theatre. This set has provided both a unique opportunity and a unique challenge for the senior theatre and drama studies students in their final year of training. “At first it was really difficult because we were in a rehearsal hall before the pool was ready, and it wasn’t the 3D space,” Scora admits. There wasn’t a shallow end or a deep end, so when we got into the actual theatre, everything would have to change. But we got into the theatre early, which was really nice.”
Once the actors moved into the theatre, they were faced with a whole new set of challenges. Orjalo notes “one thing about rehearsing in water—it kind of sucks the life out of you. It’s ten times more difficult, I would say, than rehearsing on a regular stage would be. When people have intimacy scenes in the water or fight scenes in the water, I hear that they go home at the end of the day and just have to sleep and recover for the next day, so they can do it all over again.”
“And we haven’t gotten in costumes yet,” Scora adds. “So, it will be really interesting to see what it will be like to have costumes in the water. Just how the fabric soaks up the water, and how they’ll drip on stage is going to change things. The way we move is going to change.”
A lot of work has gone into the construction of the massive, nearly ten-ton set. A time lapse of the construction can be seen on Theatre Erindale’s social media accounts. Orjalo gives credit where credit is due: “Just looking at the set and the work that the crew has been doing—I mean, we have a freaking pool on stage. That in itself is a success. It’s heated and filtered. What they put up in this theatre in such a small amount of time blows my mind.” Scora nods in agreement. “I just want people to walk in and say whoa!” She grins, “I’m excited for people who have been to Theatre Erindale for years to see what they’ve done with the space and what we are capable of as a theatre training program. That we can do something spectacular like this.” “And it will be cool for new people to see what’s going on in this little corner of the UTM campus,” adds Orjalo.
Metamorphoses will run at Erindale Studio Theatre from November 1-11.