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Reflection on Spark and The Way of Water

Reflections on Spark and The Way of the Water by Caridad Svich.


By Valli Marie Rivera

One after the other…I have been very lucky to have been part of the International reading schemes for The Way of Water and Spark by Caridad Svich and partners.

Spark and The Way of the Water present strong women grasping for footing in their “worlds of poverty“to bravely sustain their families. Both plays have unfolding conflicts of “war”: devastating environmental crisis and its ravishing effects on the people of US Gulf region and the other, the jolting of US far away wars and its damaging health effects on our veterans and their families back home.  The challenging health issues and poverty frames both stories. 

In these two plays, Caridad Svich’s women are real, practical, strong, and brave.  These women may differ culturally from each other, but are fearless in protecting their loved ones, and in their journey of love and support, they discover their strength and weakness, they call out for health protection and figure out ways to cope with poverty.  All their actions steer for survival against all odds. They fall and stand up again, they fight and embrace with passion, and they cry and laugh from the gut. These women are mirrors of us, the women with no boundaries.

Spark and The Way of Water are fluid expression of the strong or subdued actions that draws you in, caresses, bites and forces you out to reflect on life, families, environment, and the earth that we share.  These plays make you question why in this day and age some sectors of our communities are poverty stricken and still abandoned, why  homeless families, sick,  hungry, and forgotten heroes.  In my experience with the Albuquerque audience after both readings, the challenge of reflection was a given.   Reflecting on how each and every one of us can make a difference for change.  Reflecting on how reading schemes of Ms. Svich new plays can create awareness and open communication in the communities. Reflection on wars away and at home. Reflecting on how to care for our earth and denounce the big companies who destroy our environment.  Reflection on our strength as citizens of the earth and how our voices and words can count to make change happen.  If we talk looking at each other in the eyes, feeling the pulse and bearing our souls, trusting and being vulnerable, we are sharing our humanity.  Then art can create change.

As I dug in for the characters motivation and goals, for the play’s sub textual force, for the play own life through the actors instruments, for  honoring Caridad’s messages, for what I wanted to say through the reading of these plays, I felt an overwhelming sensation.  I felt a  wave carry me into the all-embracing water, pulling me under, swishing  me around and up and down , finally laying me quietly on the sand,  caressing my soul.

Spark and The Way of Water are plays that call for hope, faith, awareness for change, and an honest worthy life.


Valli Marie Rivera is a theatre director, actor, and educator with an MA in Theatre from SUNY Albany.  In Albuquerque for she directed The House of the Spirits by Caridad Svich for The Vortex Theatre and for Midnite Child Production The Medéa Complex by Patricia Crespín.   Other Vortex Theatre productions include Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya for spring 2010 with a fall tour throughout NM, making theatrical history; Lorca in a Green Dress by Nilo Cruz and La casa azul by Sophie Marcel.  Some directing credits for UNM’s Words Afire Festival include Casualties of Dreams and Sand by Christina Hjelm and Parts of Parts and Stitches by Riti Sachdeva.  She has directed and acted in Santa Fe with Santa Fe Playhouse, Santa Fe Performing Arts, Teatro Paraguas and Wise Fool NM.  Some of those works are Blood Wedding by Federico García Lorca, Rappaccini’s Daughter by Octavio Paz, Eyes for Consuela by Sam Shepard, and Curanderas Serpents of the Gods by Elaine Romero.  Valli is co-author of a published play, Hembra, presented in Argentina and Puerto Rico.  She trained additionally with Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret in Denmark, Augusto Boal, Kristin Linklater, Jacques Lecoq and Gilda Navarra.    She produced the Latin-American Popular Theater Festival (ENTEPOLA) in Puerto Rico. During her career she has performed and/or directed for theatre festivals in Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, France, and New York. She is member of No PassPort and New Mexico Dramatist.