‘Metamorphoses:’ Embracing the Classics

The cast rehearsing an Act 1 fight scene in the tale of Alcyone and Ceyx.

While many theater companies rely on musicals to draw in audiences, the Coronado School of the Arts has taken a riskier route – not only tackling a drama, but something ancient as well – classic Greek myth.

It’s not the most accessible path, attempting a retelling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but dozens of students attended an after school Act I run-through of the tale Thursday, in advance of performances Friday and Saturday. 

Following the early performance, the actors took notes from director Kim Strassburger – though they’ve been working on the piece since November, she suggested slight changes in timing and style for the closing shows.

“I’m not making any major changes, I’m just noodling,” she said, before telling one actor to slow down a speech and another to conceal himself longer behind his veil.

Fraught with symbolism and filled with tragedy, the selections are challenging material for people of any age.

“They actually laughed at the funny stuff,” said sophomore T.J. Glynn, a sophomore, relieved at the reception he and the other actors received.

“My mother had to read the script before she really got what it was about,” said Amelia Altstadt, 16.

CoSA attracted attention a year ago when students performed The Laramie Project, a play inspired by the 1998 beating death of Matthew Shepard, a gay man.

The production drew a picketing threat from Westboro Baptist Church, whose small, but vocal group of members regularly attend funerals and other events to protest acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Staging the play gave those associated with the arts program the idea that Coronado High School students and the community at-large might be willing to embrace dramas.

“This is starting to get a bigger crowd than it used to,” said Geordan Shallan, 17.

In her notes to the cast, Strassburger seemed to acknowledge as such: Saturday the school expects a full house, so Friday night might be the best bet if you want to catch a local group’s take on the gods.