The Community College of Aurora students performing in the Theatre Department’s fall production are hoping to make a big splash – literally – when they perform Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses.”
The play – which opens on November 7 – is centered around a giant pool built in the Larry D. Carter Theater; during the performance, the CCA actors will perform various scenes where they will go in and out of the water, with some actors asked to lay in the water or get tossed into the pool.
An additional challenge is that the CCA students will only have about a week to rehearse with the pool, which was finished on October 31.
“It’s surreal but everything we are doing on dry land, we have to recreate in water,” said CCA student Jose Jeres, who plays Orpheus among other roles. “It’s a new experience and I am hoping that everything goes well.”
And while the pool will be heated to 90 degrees to begin the play, during the 90-minute production the pool will slowly cool down.
“That’s another thing people will notice,” Jeres said. “How we react to the warm water at the beginning versus how we react to the cold water at the end.”
“Metamorphoses” is a modernized adaptation of Ovid’s poem and tells the creation and history of the world using many Greek mythology characters. Since the Tony award-winning play made its debut in 1996 at Northwestern University, it has featured a pool on center stage – and countless productions have adapted the play since.
The public is invited to the college’s latest theater production, “Metamorphoses,” which will debut November 7 in the Larry D. Carter Theatre on CCA’s CentreTech campus. The play will also show November 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. All playtimes are set for 7:30 p.m. and general admission tickets are $10. CCA students can sign up for free tickets.
Performing a play in a pool is what motivated Gisselle Morales, who plays Aphrodite among other characters, to try out for “Metamorphoses.”
“I love the water,” Morales said. “When I found out we were going to do a play in water, I was super excited.”
Rehearsing for the play before performing in the pool has been easy but performing in the pool will require the actors’ actions to be more precise, Morales said.
“Stepping down (into the pool) will be a little bit scary because I don’t want to fall into the pool,” she said.
The temperature of the water is a bit concerning for CCA’s cast.
“I get cold very easily,” Morales said. “That’s what I am worried about the most.”
CCA student Blossom Abing, who is playing Midas, tested out the water shortly after the pool’s completion.
“I put my feet in – it’s so cold,” Abing said. “It feels like mountain water runoff.”
Haylie Tittes, lead stage manager for “Metamorphoses,” said that keeping the cast warm during the show is important. CCA students who perform scenes in the pool will have towels backstage and a heater to help them get dry between scenes.
While rehearsing without the pool has been easy, it will be more challenging once the CCA cast starts rehearsing in the water, Tittes said. However, she believes the CCA cast is up for it.
“I think they get the severity that this is a beautiful piece of art,” Tittes said. “They just have to do it safely and correctly.”