Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jessie Mills

Reader 2

James P. Taylor

Reader 3

Ellen Finkelpearl

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© 2019 Claire A Pukszta


This paper represents the final culmination of a theater senior project. The project consisted of an analytical research paper, performance in a mainstage department production, and supporting process documentation. I portrayed Myrrha, Hunger, Zeus, and others in a production of the play Metamorphoses.

Through research on Mary Zimmerman’s 1998 play Metamorphoses, adapted from the works of Roman poet Ovid, this thesis grapples with the historical meaning of the myth of Myrrha. A polarizing figure, Myrrha was cursed to fall in lust with her father. By exploring of portrayals sexual assault onstage, I tackle themes of audience relationships to trauma and taboo subjects. I seek to understand the importance of her story in a modern context, specifically considering the #metoo movement and increasingly public discussions around sexual violence, rape culture, and systematic oppression. I stress our responsibility to understand how codifying stories on stage impacts audiences.

This project also contains my conceptualization for the characters I portrayed in Metamorphoses, my rehearsal journal, and post-show reflections. In these sections, I detail the acting theory behind my characters as well as the steps we took to adapt Metamorphoses for our community.