Mary Zimmerman’s THE WHITE SNAKE Needs A More Developed Metamorphis


“One day you will die in their hands”.  This foretelling warning is at the crux of Mary Zimmerman’s visually gorgeous new work, The White Snake, which is having its World Premiere at the Goodman Theatre.   Based on an ancient tale from the Ming Dynasty, the play is the story of White Snake and her bestie, Greenie, two reptilian girl friends cut in the swath of Lucy and Ethel.  After mastering the Tao and thus being disgusted with their lot in lives the two friends (whose coloring would make fantastic handbags) take the form of humans and look to find love.

Their story is told amid the colors, symbols and visceral design that is iconic Zimmerman.  The problem is, even with the great performances from the cast, (including Amy Kim Waschke as a vibrant White Snake; Tanya Thai McBride’s perfect comic timing as Greenie and Jon Norman Schneider as the humanly sardonic Xu Xian), there is  little character development in this current adaptation making it hard to emotionally connect to the heart of these incarnations.

Unlike Ms. Zimmerman’s Metamorphosis or even her more recent work, The Jungle Book in which the artistic vision equaled the melodramatic, the balance to push The White Snake forward to fruition is inherently missing.

The White Snake plays through June 8, 2014 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago.  For more information visit For calendar information visit