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Stage dive: Park High School's fall play 'Metamorphoses' goes deep

Ericka Berube, 15, plays multiple roles in the Park High School production "Metamorphoses," a retelling of the Greek classic. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia

When Tracy Caponigri says "Everybody out of the pool!" she's not working as a lifeguard. She's a theater director at Park High School.

The English teacher is trying to keep the swimming pool in the middle of the stage clean. Which means, no shoes. After all, who wants to act while standing in dirty water?

"One more time," she says, addressing the cast at a recent rehearsal. "Can we stay in the pool with our shoes on?"

"No!" replies the cast.

The pool is central to "Metamorphoses," Mary Zimmerman's acclaimed retelling of Ovid's classic 15-volume tale of transformation. Losing the pool would be like "Phantom of the Opera" without the chandelier.

"There's a shallow end and a deep end," Caponigri said.

The usual suspects in Greek Mythology are here — Zeus, Aphrodite, Morpheus, Hades, Apollo. But Zimmerman's interpretation derives much of its power from the contemporary themes that are woven into the myths.

"I walk onstage whistling the Beatles and I tell the story of how I wanted to borrow my dad's car," said Park junior Joshua Lester, who plays the dual roles of Hermes and Phaeton.

"We have some very cerebral actors so we wanted to give them some text that was a little more difficult," Caponigri said.

Caponigri said she wants to diverge from the "standing around and talking" that many associate with classical Greek theater. She promises plenty of action. Some actors will play birds, others, storm waves. Park student Marisa Schwab, who plays Hunger, rides piggyback on another actor.

Speaking of water, those in the first three rows may want to wear a poncho. Precipitation is predicted.

If you go:

"Metamorphoses" runs 7 p.m. Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 2 and 2 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets are available online and at the door and are $7 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. For more information, visit www.parkwolfpack.org/theater

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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