PlayMakers Repertory Company hopes to make a splash in the Paul Green Theatre — featuring a 15-ton heated pool as part of the set for its rotating repertory of Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses” and William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Performances of “The Tempest” and “Metamorphoses” will start Nov. 2 and 3, respectively. In order to give theater technicians ample time to prepare the complex set, no other performances will be held in the theater until then.
Both productions explore the human desire for change and are predicated upon themes of love, release and redemption, said Joseph Haj, PlayMakers’ producing artistic director and co-director for the plays.
“We’re thrilled to share these two plays in conversation with one another,” he said. “Both are plays that take water as their central metaphor, and the opportunity to explore them both on alternating evenings is going to be, I think, very special for our community.”
Haj wouldn’t disclose the exact cost of the pool, but said the price was significant. Preparation for the play mandated an acute awareness of the water’s impact on artistic elements.
For Jade Bettin, the costume designer for PlayMakers and the co-costume designer for the plays, that entailed making costume plots — she listed actors by scene appearances and classified how wet their outfits would get in each scene. She then identified which costumes required two sets.
Fabric types and the reaction of dyes in the pool presented additional concerns. As a solution, Bettin said natural fibers were chosen and dunk tests were performed to test the impact of chlorinated water on the fabric.
Bettin said many afternoon conversations revolved around underclothing.
“You know, this is going to be a wet T-shirt contest. Like, what are they wearing underneath? What do we want to see? Because we’re going to see it. The fabric will be transparent,” she said.