UWCSEA East’s first High School production brought together FIB Drama and Music students in a unique collaboration. The Tony-award winning play by Mary Zimmerman, ‘Metamorphoses,’ is a modern adaptation of Ovid’s poem of the same name. Students were responsible for the stagecraft, design, acting and music in the production. The FIB Music students composed all of the music and performed the original score live during the performances. Jamie Buitelaar who acted, sang and designed costumes for Metamorphoses, shares her insights and experiences of the production.
This year's FIB production, Metamorphoses, was a busy one for all involved. I took on six roles in the play, as well as being part of the costume team - all students had at least three roles and were part of stagecraft teams. As a costume designer, it was my job to come up with costume ideas for two of the scenes in the play. After the designs were set, I had to source all of the costumes for my scenes. It was quite an ordeal, trying to find costumes for 9 characters, but it was part of pulling my weight so the production could run smoothly. Understanding the importance of teamwork was one of my biggest lessons over the course of the production, because if even one person didn’t do their job, the entire production could be in jeopardy.
Backstage on show nights felt a bit like playing hide and seek! We were perpetually shushing each other and dragging other actors and musicians out of the audience’s line of sight. Costumes had to be changed backstage, and even with most of the costumes hung up on racks, it was quite hectic. All three nights, one of the therapists would lose a jacket right before their scene, and find it about 10 seconds before their cue! We definitely had to think fast backstage, and I believe that was a useful skill to learn, as it is crucial in any situation.
Working with FIB Music students was a unique and interesting experience, and I enjoyed it very much. As one of the “singers” in the play, I had to work closely with the music students to ensure the song sounded as good as it could. The biggest challenge with having live music in the show was volume as the music tended to be louder than the actors. For most of the scenes, a bit of tweaking was enough to balance out actors’ voices with the music, but for large scenes such as the battle scene in Alcyone and Ceyx, the music had to be loud to match the mood of the scene. In such cases, it took quite a while to find the perfect balance between music and actors.
The underlying theme of change in the play also provided me with many new insights, the most important one coming from the story of Midas. At the beginning of the play, Midas’ greed for gold leads him to mistreat his daughter. After he is granted the gift of turning anything he touches into gold, his daughter runs to him and is turned into a gold statue. It is then that he realizes his mistake in requesting the gift. The story seems to be a sad one, until the end of the play, when Midas washes his hands in a pool and his gift is taken away, after which he hugs his daughter and she doesn’t turn to gold. I think the lesson to be learned in this is that whatever changes you go through, the choice to change or not to change is ultimately yours to make.