“Metamorphoses” takes place on a stage of water and will be performed in the round at Arena Stage.
Fox remembered that she told the group: “These stories have been around for thousands of years. They came down from the oral tradition and they represent a certain reality about the human condition. They are about greed and loss and redemption and lust and love and all of those things. Those archetypes are not things that we will ever solve. They are things that will always be with us.”
One of the myths Zimmerman introduced to the play late in its initial development was the myth of Eros and Psyche.
Eros, portrayed by Hara, is played blind. His great love, Psyche — the Greek word for soul, mind, spirit — is forbidden to look on him. She does, of course, and is subsequently wrested from him. She has to pass a series of tests to return to him.
In the show, Eros enters the scene wearing only wings, blindfolded and carrying an arrow.
“It feels like a kind of sacred scene. Quiet and still. It’s a really respectful scene,” Hara said. “There is nothing, sort of, lascivious about it.”
Nonetheless, he said he is “never not nervous about it,” adding, “In the round, there is no protection.”
That exposure mimics the vulnerability that comes with loving and being loved.
“That intimacy is a crucible of some kind,” Hara said. “In order to be intimate with some one, you have to be vulnerable. It sounds cheesy, but intimacy is a risky thing.
“It is a risky thing because you can be hurt. It is a risky thing because you can lose that person,” he said.
“There is always a sense of courage and bravery in love.
“Maybe, when you’re involved in doing a show of this nature, you’re tapping into something big, basic . . . human.” Hara posited. “Maybe that opens people up to friendships and falling in love and choosing each other for life?”
Romance on Stage
Fox said the life he has with his wife, actress Anne Fogarty, and their daughter, Nora, nearly didn’t happen.
“I had gone to grad school out east and ended up back in Chicago by accident,” he recalled. “Although I had worked on early Lookingglass shows and I had been around for the early formation of the company, I wasn’t an ensemble member yet. I was trying to get back to New York. I had set these plans. I had let my apartment go. I had ordered the moving van.”
Then, at what was supposed to be his final ensemble meeting, Zimmerman took Fox aside and asked him to put New York on hold for a few months.
More than 14 years later, he’s still in Chicago.
“If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have started dating my wife, and we wouldn’t have worked together, and I wouldn’t have stayed in Chicago and, you know, all those things wouldn’t have happened,” he said.