Returning to the Lookingglass stage fourteen years after its debut (and a decade after it won director Mary Zimmerman a Best Director Tony on Broadway) “Metamorphoses” feels as contemporary as ever. Interpreting a series of loosely connected tales/myths taken from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses, ” Zimmerman’s work intertwines comedy and tragedy along with the whimsical and contemplative to create a moving and engaging piece of theater that connects modern-day theatergoers to stories that are over two-thousand-years old. The audience sits around a rectangular pool of water surrounded by a thin walkway. The ensemble—and this is truly an ensemble piece—winds around (and frequently through) the water, occasionally splashing the first few rows of the audience (who are provided with towels) in moments of extreme playfulness or torment. As the characters in the stories pass through this expanse of water it becomes a central character itself, with the movement of the actors keeping it serenely calm or causing it to lap roughly at its borders and T.J. Gerckens’ lighting design making it appear dark and foreboding or crystal clear as the moment sees fit. Though the stories differ in presentation and mood, the recurring theme of love permeates the entire show. It’s a captivating ninety minutes that Chicago audiences are lucky to have a second shot at. (Zach Freeman)
Lookingglass Theatre Company, 821 North Michigan, (312)337-0665. $36-$70. Through November 18.