And it's Mary Zimmerman - I may have thought she completely screwed up Metamorphoses by not doing as much as she could have done (basically, I'd seen a better production the year before where a smaller theatre company with a smaller space and hardly any money built a better pool and used it more effectively), but her Candide was gorgeous. I wasn't as enthralled as a chunk of the audience by one particular piece of her staging, but that's because I could see it coming, as another company had done almost the same thing not long before in the same theatre, so I knew what the stage space looked like and how much was currently in use*. But the way she told the story, both in her rewritten book and visually, the use of ensemble and the fluidity of her storytelling, is compelling in itself. But her writing requires, if not her own direction, then a director equally adept at creating that sense of mysticism and awe and fluid storytelling. Something about the delivery of lines about the sea voyage to South America was as magical as any description of a transformation in Metamorphoses, and the very movement of a toy boat bobbing through the waves of an actress' skirt as she delivered the lines made more sense to me and was more beautiful in my memory than anything Zimmerman did in Metamorphoses, was the equal to the most magical transformations Allison Stockmann did in her Metamorphoses the previous year.
Basically, this is Mary Zimmerman. She performs beautiful beautiful magic on stage. And I can't believe she's actually choreographing "Bare Necessities" because this is so weird I can't even. (I missed Argonautika and even though I did not like her Metamorphoses, I'm still sort of kicking myself. Her Candide was that beautiful.)
*when Candide is banished from the home in Westphalia, the back wall collapses, leaving him in a huge, never-before-seen space. Tricycle had used the same effect in The Great Game: Afghanistan - the collapse of the World Trade Center is done via video projection onto a wall that for the prior two and a half parts of the show (it's a 9 hour show, basically - 3 parts) had been the rear wall of the stage. Similar purpose - it opens up what had been a shallow, enclosed playing space into a much bigger, open space, at some point with blue sky and clouds and fields of flowers. In both productions. To signal much the same ambivalence about what being open to the world means.
What kind of literature and what kind of life is the same question. - Tom Stoppard