Revered for her liquid adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, produced in 1999 at the Berkeley Rep and performed entirely in a shallow pool of water, Zimmerman has a gift for putting abstract thoughts into action. The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, her current play, is based on the artist's journals from 1475 to 1519. Among the filing-cabinet walls of a cleverly designed set, eight actors take turns reciting da Vinci's written ideas, using dance, song, and acrobatic feats of leverage to illustrate them. The cabinets are the source of the staging's great inventiveness; the actors climb them, hang on them, and pull out the drawers to remove a folding ladder, a model of a pond, or sheaves of wheat as visual representations of da Vinci's theories.
The epitome of a Renaissance man, da Vinci might be considered an attention-deficient, obsessive jack-of-all-trades today. But despite his fascination with the tactile, he often pondered a more intangible subject: "And if there is no love," his notes question, "what then?"