Metamorphoses Set Q&A with Adam Matthew
By A Noise Within
May 10, 2022
What does it take to bring Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses to the theater? Putting a pool onstage is no easy task, but our production manager Adam Matthew is up for the challenge. Read about the process of bringing the watery world of Metamorphoses to life in this exclusive interview.
What was set designer François-Pierre Couture’s vision for the pool, and how did you approach capturing that vision?
We knew from when the show was announced last year that we’d have to build a pool on stage for Metamorphoses, and the production team has been prepping for this exciting challenge for a long time. However, the production team always goes off of what the set designer draws. We receive the stage diagrams and stage plot. Our job is to make sure the end product matches what the set designer draws.
For Metamorphoses, Couture’s created a beautiful set design, which was very presentational. The entire set is based off of a chandelier and how light reflects and refracts off of it. His idea was to utilize the sun and the reflections in the pool in a similar way to a chandelier. He gave a stunning presentation on it, and we knew we had our work cut out for us.
What aspects of the pool were most important when planning pool construction?
The most important part of the pool planning process is making sure the water stays where it’s meant to stay. We had to make sure the theater could house the weight of the water which was pretty heavy. The engineering of the pool is very important so all the water is housed in a structurally sound and safe area for everyone. Not only safe for the actors but also the audience and the theater space as well.
The second most important part of pool planning was making sure that the pool was sanitized. That includes the proper chlorination, proper pH balance of the water, making sure the water is properly sterilized, filtered, and heated.
What unexpected challenges did you face in creating and maintaining the pool?
Pools really aren’t intended to be put onstage in a theater–lights and sound equipment usually do not mix well with water–so there’s no shortage of challenges. Keeping the pool and the actors safe, proofing all electrical equipment and keeping it out of the way.
One challenge we’ve been running into a lot lately is keeping the water warm for the actors during rehearsals. We’ve had to figure out the best schedule of when to warm the water so that it’s at optimal temperature during rehearsals and each time we run the show. The pool is there as an artistic tool, and we want our actors to be able to perform their lines and direction comfortably. It’s important those concerns are taken care of so you can perform your piece of art in this water as intended. We’ve gotten the pool to a good place, but it’s taken a lot of work to get here. We hope the audiences enjoy this rare on-stage spectacle.