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What I learned from THE WAY OF WATER at IUP

by Christina Soracco, stage management student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

The way I got involved in this project was both, in my opinion, bit random and perhaps a stroke of luck for both Jason and myself. I had initially contacted Prof. Chimonides with a project of my own, as I am a playwright just starting out, and was asking for help with what was to be the second workshop for me. This turned into one of those you scratch my back I'll scratch yours sort of deals. I was of course thrilled to help Jason. When Prof. Chimonides first came to me looking for help for IUP’s reading of Caridad Svich’s The Way of Water I initially thought that it would be fun, and a nice thing to do. I would be helping Prof. Chimonides out with one of his projects.

A couple of days passed and I heard nothing and then he sent out about 10 e-mails to me. Most of these were just correspondence e-mails but two or three really started me on, what I now consider to be a journey, this project. Those e-mails contained first and foremost the script, which I consider to be the body of this whole project and then also the No Passport website and the Indigogo website. I perused the sites in my free time that day and couldn't wait to read script, which I did later that night. It was beautiful. Heart wrenching.

We read through the script with the whole cast the night before. In my opinion that was moving in itself. They were really able to immerse themselves in the characters they portrayed and played very well off of each other. So will actually I asked them if they read through it before together over the weekend. Of course they hadn’t but it being my first experience with something like this I was pretty amazed. On the night of what I refer to as the official reading, they read it even better. My naïve-ness led me to believe such a thing was not possible, I'm glad they proved me wrong. Watching them once again interact with each other and with the inclusion of the audience was something that was just incredible to me.
Talking about incredible the line that stuck out to me the most was the last line on page 91 “Man can't get sick in this country.” This is also found on the indigo go website and just reading it alone before I read through the script I thought it was talking about our ability as a race to prevent sickness among ourselves. Obviously this was incorrect and that was made clear after I read through the script. But Jimmy's words mean to me, is that in their line of work, which has been turned upside down by the oil spill and the chemicals that were distributed, they can't afford to get sick. If they do they lose everything.
This really struck a chord with me because it's so hard to believe how heartless and how willing these big oil companies are to look other way. In my opinion, their job is not even close to being finished. They have ruined the livelihoods of countless numbers of families along the coastal region they're acting as though everything is just fine, that's just messed up.
I guess it's me getting a little bit off topic in that last paragraph. We have a talkback at the end of our reading and some parts of people's families lived in the affected regions. Should the person who spoke said that her family reunions in the last couple years sounded a lot like the script. We all laughed at first, because, I'm guessing, of, the language. We’re so far away from it up here in Pennsylvania that it's for and to us at whatever we talk of rednecks this is kind of what we imagine so in that way it was humorous. After the initial response, which might’ve lasted all of five seconds it got very serious. The atmosphere in the room changed as reality settled in. I think that everyone walked away from this perhaps with more than they bargained for, but when it's about spreading the word of something so important I think we did a good job.
I have come out of work with this project, not only with something I can add to my resume haha, but with a deeper understanding of many things. The first and foremost being a critically deeper understanding of the effects of the BP oil spill. I also learned partly what sort of time and effort goes into spreading the word, getting people to show up, getting the community involved, finding actors and overall just getting this thing up and running. This was a great experience for me and I am honored to be part of something like this. I think it really shows us how easily things can be forgotten, and held something like a play can enlighten us so much.
The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read on April 10th, 2012 at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, directed by Jason Chimonides. 

20 April 2012

Two years ago today, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform killed 11 men and initiated the largest marine oil spill in history, with roughly five million barrels released from the Macondo well, with roughly 4.2 million barrels pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

To provide factual information and curricular resources about this disaster, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and our Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) have created the Online Clearinghouse for Education And Networking: Oil Interdisciplinary Learning (OCEAN-OIL) a free, open-access, peer-reviewed electronic education resource about the Deepwater Horizon disaster


OCEAN-OIL resources now available at include:
•       National Commission Reports on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill- all of the 30 official reports and many background papers
•       Articles (160+)  hyper-linked, encyclopedia style
•       Teaching resources (30) including games and teacher guides
•       Glossary (400+) related to oil spill causes, impacts, clean-up, and prevention
•       Acronyms (LPG,  PPM,  ROV,  VOC) (75+) to help decode the language of oil spill science
•       External links (100+) to  government sites, image galleries, news sources, industry, environmental groups, education, and journal articles
•        Photo galleries: Images by renowned photojournalist Gary Braasch and others
•        Deepwater Horizon by the Numbers: Publication-quality graphs
•       Videos (280+)
•       Databases - Statistics, technical diagrams, maps, and other data
The OCEAN-OIL website is seamlessly integrated into the Encyclopedia of Earth (, which is a free, peer-reviewed, searchable collection of content about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society, written by expert scholars and educators. The site is designed to be a resource to faculty members and other educators who may use the incident in their teaching.
The project is a partnership among NCSE, CEDD, Louisiana State University and Boston University. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.
For more information, contact:
David E. Blockstein, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary,
Council of Environmental Deans and Directors
Senior Scientist
National Council for Science and the Environment
1101 17th St. NW #250
Washington DC 20036
202-207-0004 direct
202-530-5810 general

The Way of Water at University of Nebraska at Omaha

by Sarah Fogarty, graduate student at University of Nebraska at Omaha

On April 10th in coordination with the graduate seminar course Women by Women, we held a staged reading of Caridad Svich’s The Way of Water.  We had a small but very interested audience, comprised of students, faculty, and community members.

My experience with the play began earlier in the semester, during the first few weeks of classes.  A fellow graduate student told us about the reading scheme after Caridad sent an email to her and our professor, Dr. Cindy Melby Phaneuf.  We had the wonderful experience of producing another one of Caridad’s plays, 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs), in December at UNO.  Cindy also directed Caridad’s play Alchemy of Desire/Dead Man’s Blues this past summer for the Great Plains Theatre Conference, so we have enjoyed a close relationship with Caridad and jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

Cast as Neva, I was initially drawn in by the beauty and rhythm of such self-described, “back of the woods” people like the Robichauxs and Skows.  There are so many stereotypes of such individuals (I am all too familiar with country bumpkin stereotypes being originally from Kentucky), that I think is hard for dramatists to paint them as anything more than caricatures.  But this was different; I immediately connected with each one of them, especially Rosalie, who I felt for so much that I was afraid my heart would break.

For me, the play wasn’t so much about the issue of the BP Oil Spill; it was more about the way that we, as humans, deal with a disaster, of any kind.  During rehearsals, we discussed how people try to learn as much as they can about their current situation, even if they have very little formal training in the subject.  All the characters became actively involved in learning about their situation and devising solutions on how things might be fixed.  When I was little and my grandpa was dying of cancer, I remember my father and mother painstakingly remembering the details of what the doctors told them, thinking that maybe if they understood what was happening biologically, it might make them feel better.  But the science of it never makes it more human; it just distances us from our soul.

The moments that affected me the most were between Jimmy and Rosalie; especially when Rosalie describes the sweater that Jimmy bought her at Target: even though it was too expensive, he bought it anyway because he knew that she wanted it.  Even the not so tender moments between Rosalie and Jimmy were heart wrenching, when Jimmy accused Rosalie of spending money on lipstick at the Dollar Store, or when he accused her of mismanaging the finances when he was in the hospital.  Rosalie goes on to describe the lengths to which she went to make ends meet, though in the end, it wasn’t enough.

In a post-reading discussion with the graduate seminar class, we extended our discussion of how this play can live in many different worlds. There are startling similarities between the oil spill and mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia where coal mining companies have literally been blowing the tops off mountains with little concern.  It is amazing to think of how little the cost of not only our Earth, but also animals and other human beings means to these large companies.  And we, by relying on coal and oil are contributing to the problem.  When will it stop? Will it ever stop? Is there not anything that can be done about it? “Just keep on the keep on” Yuki says to Jimmy, but is that enough? Can it ever be enough?

This play is full of strong emotions as well as unanswered questions.  Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I hadn’t read it, then I wouldn’t feel so conflicted inside:  what can I do about this? Anything?  Is it any of my business? Is it a hopeless cause? Even though I hate that I am conflicted by this, it makes me feel a greater appreciation for the human spirit and mother earth, and I am motivated to help protect them: Ignorance isn’t always bliss, even though it wants to be.

The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read on April 10th, 2012 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, directed by Dr. Cindy Melby PhaneufActors included Zack Jennison (Jimmy), Thais Flait Giannoccaro (Rosalie), Colt Neidhardt (Yuki), and Sarah Fogarty (Neva). 

From the Tampa Bay Times

"Oil from Deepwater Horizon spill still causing damage in the Gulf 2 years later, scientists say"

article by Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer. In Print: Sunday, April 15, 2012.


"On Florida's Panhandle beaches, where local officials once fretted over how much oil washed in with each new tide, everything seems normal. The tourists have returned. The children have gone back to splashing in the surf and hunting for shells.

Every now and then, a tar ball as big as a fist washes ashore. That's the only apparent sign that the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history tainted these sugar-white sands two years ago.

But with an ultraviolet light, geologist James "Rip" Kirby has found evidence that the oil is still present, and possibly still a threat to beachgoers.

Tiny globs of it, mingled with the chemical dispersant that was supposed to break it up, have settled into the shallows, mingling with the shells, he said. When Kirby shines his light across the legs of a grad student who'd been in the water and showered, it shows orange blotches where the globs still stick to his skin.

"If I had grandkids playing in the surf, I wouldn't want them to come in contact with that," said Kirby, whose research is being overseen by the University of South Florida. "The dispersant accelerates the absorption by the skin."

As those blotches show, the gulf and its residents are still coping with the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which began with a fiery explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. Read More


Daniella Topo: How soon after the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill did you know you wanted to write a play that responded to this event?

Caridad Svich: As a citizen, I was, of course, deeply affected by Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill. I have great affection for the U.S. Gulf region, especially since part of my life growing up was spent in Florida. Watching the news footage of the devastation to the ocean, the wildlife, the birds, and the human beings was and continues to be heartbreaking (because the devastation is far from over). I was outraged and heartbroken. And still am. However, I didn't know I would write a play set in its aftermath. Not immediately. At the time I simply, as a concerned citizen and eco-activist, followed the news stories in mainstream media, social media and online. I traveled and wrote and listened and took notes. Early in 2011 I started to write a series of poems related to the many health and environmental issues the disaster effected. Again, not thinking the poems would transform into a theatre piece. I was just writing because I needed to do so. I wanted to engage my art somehow with the complexity and enormity of the issues, and give back spiritually and emotionally in solidarity with the people most devastated by the disaster.

Then in the late spring of 2011 I wrote a play called GUAPA, which is set in Texas and although it is not about the oil spill, it is chiefly about characters living through poverty, engaged with activism, and dreaming big dreams about how they can affect their communities and environment. As I was writing GUAPA, I realized that it was the first in a quartet of plays set in the U.S. south and southwest, and that actually the poems I'd written and initial research I'd conducted about the oil spill was the next play to be written. In a sense, one play flowed directly from the other, although in the case of both, I'd been thinking about the issues and region, in and out of disaster, for a long time. The necessity to write The Way of Water stirred up. The characters started speaking to me and wouldn't let me go.

DT: You have done a considerable amount of research about the Spill and its impact on the residents of the area. In what ways is the play based on research and in what ways is it inspired by artistic license?

CS: The play is not theater of testimony. It is not docu-drama. It is a poetic transformation based on real events. In this I would say, it is not unlike, for example, how colleague Lynn Nottage re-interpreted research to create Ruined, or how colleague JT Rogers crafted The Overwhelming, based on research on the Rwandan genocide.Two notable examples of many in a field where there is extensive precedent for this kind of storytelling. That said, the play merges layers and levels of research with my own take on the situation in the Gulf region, and the impact the disaster has had on men and women who have been tenders of the waterways their whole lives, whose very livelihoods indeed depend on the ways of water, and whose environment, even before the 2010 spill, was already being affected by ground water contamination, air toxins and more. In the play, real events are woven into the fabric of events I've dreamt up as a writer. Poetry, politics and a human story are at the play's core. Here is a love story between people and their environment, between men and women, between friends, and between children and the legacies into which they have been born. The complexities and contradictions of being poor in America is also a strong thematic and concrete thread in the piece. You can't talk about class and race (and post-race) without talking about money in this country. They go hand in hand.

DT: How is the play still evolving/developing?

CS:Until a play gets into rehearsal, it is always in evolution. And it is only when it gets into rehearsal, unless for some reason you're writing a drawer play, that it continues its life as a breathing, moving work of theatre. Even after a first production, a play evolves. Right now The Way of Water is where it needs to be to walk into a room and play with actors in space and time. The Studio Retreat process will allow us to begin to unpack its layers, explore its humor, its sensuality, its pain, and I hope, also, its unsentimental, beating heart.

DT: The Way of Water is receiving more than 20 readings this month. How did this come about? What are some of the unique approaches various artists/communities have taken to presenting this piece?

CS:When I put together the draft of the play, after months of note-taking and journal-ing and research and dreaming, in the Lark's Winter Writers Retreat, I was simultaneously exhilarated by the writing process, and suddenly weary by what I felt would be the usual next steps for a writer working on a new play: the mailing, the reading, the workshop maybe, another reading, etc. All to the good. Yet I felt such a sense of outrage about the continued score of illnesses (human and wildlife) in the U.S. Gulf, that I thought "How can art engage civically, directly in the moment? How can the conversation go beyond the often rarefied world of new writing and into the much wider dialogue between the humanities and the sciences, between activism and art-making, between the ecology of theatre-making itself and the ecologies in which we live on a daily basis, whether we live land-locked, near water, or somewhere in between? And do so, without waiting. In the moment. Go speak directly with the people."

I spoke to some of my colleagues within the NoPassport theatre alliance (chiefly dramaturges Heather Helinsky and R. Alex Davis) and suggested "What if we knocked on a few doors and asked theatre folks in and out of the academy, far and wide, to give the play a read and thus mark the two-year anniversary of the oil spill and actually get a conversation either going or expanding deeper and wider in their local communities?" At first, we thought maybe five venues would give us a listen. But remarkably, over twenty have responded (and we're still adding venues as the consortium extends into May 2012), within the US and as far as Tasmania (Australia), Wales, London, Berlin, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro (the play has been already translated into Portuguese), and Pretoria, South Africa. Each venue, whether it be Occupy Ashland in Oregon, American Stage in St. Petersburg, Main Street Theatre in Houston, University of Alabama in Birmingham or University of Waterloo in Ontario (Canada), has brought and is bringing their own local stories to the table as they connect with the play and the issues it raises, and the human story at its center. In Waterloo, for example, ground water contamination is a significant issue. The director Andy Houston has decided to stage the play, weather permitting, site-specifically outdoors on or near (as backdrop) a contaminated building site, with which his local community has a very specific and long-standing historical relationship. In Los Angeles, theatre ensemble Opera del Espacio has created a meditation/extraction of the play with their own physical theatre vocabulary - and has ritualized the audience's experience by asking them to bathe their actors in black liquid - despoiling them as the wildlife was despoiled and damaged - to enhance the visceral impact of the presentation. In Australia, the director Angela Miller will keep the play's Louisiana locale but present the piece with Australian accents and connect it emotionally to the people of the many poor coastal towns down under that are living lives not dissimilar than the ones of the characters in my play.

DT: Is this multi-reading scheme model that you would use for other plays of yours? Why or why not?

CS:The last time I endeavored the multi-reading scheme model was with the collaboratively written piece I curated Return to the Upright Position, which was written six months after September 11, 2001. Our goal then was to present the piece simultaneously on the anniversary of the disaster on the same day around the country as a creative act of spiritual healing through theatre. I don't know that every play is suited to or should be suited to such a scheme. The political outrage and compassion that stirred The Way of Water into being is very specific, and while many of my plays have been born out of both outrage and compassion, I think that in the end, each play speaks to how it needs to make itself manifest. When I wrote Iphigenia Crash Land Falls... (a rave fable), I never knew that it would take me to London and Greece for its first workshop in it development phase, but that's where it first found its legs. The Way of Water, like water itself, I suppose, wanted to rise up and connect and flow. I'm grateful to the many, many practitioners and educators who have put it on a raft from one city to another across many miles and continents, and are finding their own ways through and inside it. I'm just following where it goes.


"Show Me" THE WAY OF WATER at University of Missouri

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, the Missouri Playwrights Workshop hosted a reading of Caridad Svich's THE WAY OF THE WATER.  The workshop is very informal, a playwright's salon, if you will, and we bring a general sense of openness and interest in craft which is a bit outside the typical audience experience.  And of course, they're Missourians, or mostly Missourians, so there is always that attitude of "show me" to any work presented at the workshop.  Meaning, you've got to "show them" why they should care about what it is you're trying to say.  We are the "show me" state, after all—and we're just this side of cranky about our drama.
The group was mostly Mizzou undergrads, with a few local writers, and a graduate student or two.    It was more packed than usual, as we have had Caridad as a guest artist in the past, and they love her, and her magic, and really respect her writing.
I think it's safe to say, that Caridad "showed them" - that is, she opened their eyes to the depth of misery that the folks around the Gulf have experienced Post-BP-Oil-Spill: the sickness, the betrayal, the frustration with their government officials and their own ability to change what has happened.  And in our post-play discussion, to basically wrestle with the issues that Caridad raises so eloquently in her play—we all struggled with the kind of paralysis that seems to have happened since the Oil Spill and since Katrina.  Since we're just up the Mississippi a bit from all these events, the students know folks down on the Gulf, have family there, and the awful pain and suffering experienced by Jimmy, Rosalie, Yuki, and Neva was very close to home.
Like the Missourians we are, we wrestled with the dramaturgy of the play, discussed what we felt worked, and what didn't work—hey, we're a cranky bunch of scribblers, ya know—but at the same time, the students were furiously googling all the different sicknesses that have lingered since the Oil Spill, the horrifying effects of Corexit, the lack of protective gear for those who cleaned up the spill, the ghoulish quality of PAH or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons---aspects that Caridad hauntingly recreated with her magic—the vomiting of fish, the orchids of paper and pipe cleaners, the notion that, like the survivors of the Bikini Island nuclear tests, there would be no return to paradise for the good fishing folk of the Gulf of Mexico.
In the end, we were all grateful to have had taken this moment with THE WAY OF THE WATER with Caridad, nearly two years out from the original explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, as this issue will linger for many years, and there are protesters still there—though too few—whose protests still need to be heard.  We need to Occupy these problems; we need to embrace this pain.  Even as BP and all those smiling happy commercials tells us all it's okay to come back to the Gulf, and swim, and eat what's there—it's important that my students had the opportunity to hear a different voice, and a voice that is as passionate and lyric as Caridad's to remind us that there is still many years of work to be done to rectify the terrible poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico, after the disaster of the BP Oil Spill.
Dr. David A. Crespy, Associate Professor of Playwriting
Director, Undergraduate Studies
Artistic Director, Missouri Playwrights Workshop
Co-Director, MU Writing for Performance Program
Resident Playwright, First Run Theatre Company,
St. Louis Missouri Field Representative, Dramatist Guild, Inc
THE WAY OF WATER by Caridad Svich was read at the Missouri Playwrights Workshop at the University of Missouri Department of Theatre on April 10th, at 7pm. Dr. David A. Crespy, Artistic Director

Man's Extremity is live Theatre's Opportunity


By Jason Chimonides, professor of drama at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Last night, I had the illuminating pleasure to read, with a very talented cast of student actors, Caridad Svich’s The Way of Water for a large audience of freshman Honors College students. The audience and actors entered instantly into an easy and engaging rapport with the play. The colorful exuberance of the characters, their distinctive locality and the specificity of their lives and worldview jumped off the stage and there was a strong identification with and affection for all of the characters: their struggles, their yearnings and the incremental and devastating discovery of their almost post-apocalyptic situation.

To me, as the director of the reading, I discovered that it is quite the hallucination to think that the people of the Gulf are somehow distinct from the Gulf itself.  I was raised in Tallahassee, FL, 45 miles from this calm and mystical water and I know first -hand that they are a unitary system.  Like bees and flowers. This basic interdependence, though the most painfully obvious fact, is somehow the most elusive thing to FEEL.  Not just to understand intellectually, but to experience.  In the way one experiences the BLUE in SKY.  And the rupture that this ecological homeostasis underwent as a result of the spill and its attendant miseries is yet another reminder that technological man, “Homo Colossus”, has, in many ways reached a dead end - and is in very grave danger of choking on its own pollutants.

In fact, as the play, (and history), make clear, it already is.

And the social and spiritual effects, the total ecological cost, evoke a tremendous compassion in me. What a snarl we all have to untangle. But, as this project evokes – there is an unyielding capacity and yearning in the human being (perhaps because we ARE 70 percent water), to move our world into greater accord with The Way of Water, which to me is a metaphor for the Ancient Chinese concept of The Tao: the mysterious, spontaneous intelligence of nature and its eternal capacity to rebalance itself. The universe, as the late philosopher Alan Watts once said, “always bounces.”

In the discussion that followed the reading, I was struck, as I frequently am, by the millennial generation’s capacity to see clearly. They are a generation who grew up online.  Their consciousnesses have been intensely shaped by a cataract of cosmically fragmented information.  Bits and bits and bits and bits and bits…

And projects like The Way of Water provide them with an opportunity to touch the earth again.  To return to the ground of their being and to paradoxically, see straight through the delusion of the media cycle, the BP propaganda, “Drill baby drill” and the tenacity of the Cultural Ego to want to beat nature into submission.  They get the message. Instantly. And in almost every case I’ve witnessed, intelligent, reflective young people find this re-membering incredibly refreshing.

Like a strong, exhilarating cup of espresso.

Still, to be perfectly honest, there is also a strong whiff of fatalism in their psyches, of an innate and protective disassociation, and I felt this in the comments of the students: “yes,” they seem to say, “This is incredibly messed up. DUH! On to the next viral tragedy…”

Consciousness is so fragmented.  And so is compassion.

They live a paradox.  Since the internet has given them a visceral understanding of interdependence, though they understand human costs, their empathy is weakened by innumerable exposures to colossal, global disruption.  Remember, these students were in third grade on September 11th, 2001.

They understandably feel overwhelmed.  They grew up saturated with symbolic depictions of large scale human folly – and are, as a result, perhaps, profoundly, overwhelmed by voluminous DATA.  The sheer scale of the symbolic world in which they are immersed is exhausting in the stimulation it confers and many feel, because of their close dance with technology, social media, etc. increasingly depersonalized because of it - under surveillance, bombarded, disillusioned, etc.

That’s where the power of The Way of Water comes in.

Man’s extremity is live theater’s opportunity. An immediate and precise chamber piece on the stage, like this one – about human beings  - which points directly to an ultimate interdependence, is, I believe,  like the flow of water over rocks.  Deep and immediate.   And it smoothes and shapes and hone us, one at a time.

Thanks for the opportunity to share in this project.

Jason Chimonides
Assistant Professor, IUP Dept. of Theater and Dance

The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on April 10th, 2012 at 7pm, sponsored by the IUP Honors College. 

NPR Interview for The Way of Water

Jefferson Exchange Public Radio:The Way of Water 

The play's the thing, and while in this case it may not catch the conscience of the king, organizers hope it will raise awareness of poverty, health and environment in the U.S. "The Way of Water" dramatizes life after the Gulf Oil Spill, and nationwide readings on April 9 commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the spill. Playwright Caridad Svich joins us to talk about the play and the readings.

PODCAST 4/6 Hr 1: First Friday Arts segment + Play on BP spill: "The Way of Water"



"We have long believed that theatre is one of the most powerful tools for inciting a communal dialogue about the world we live in, the impact contemporary issues have on our health, and the long lasting repercussions our decisions and actions have on our environment and our evolution as a society. The Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill not only affected those in direct contact with the disaster, but it had national and international repercussions.
Partnering with US Latina playwright Caridad Svich means that the dialogue erases borders and unites us on an international level to talk about the things that matter most. As one of Canada's only Latin American theatre companies dedicated to developing and producing the work of Latin American artists, we feel it fitting to expand our support and create alliances with Latino artists abroad."
THE WAY OF WATER by Caridad Svich will be read at Almeda Theatre on Sunday, April 29th, 2012, 2:30pm at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The free reading will be directed by Marilo Nunez, featuring: Karl Ang, Michelle Arvizu, Andrew Moodie, and Cherissa Richards.


The Way of Water at Vortex Theatre!

by Valli Marie Rivera, Director

The reading was well received!  The audience congratulated the good acting and the staging. The audience about of 35 in our 75-seat theatre was engaged during and after the reading enthusiastic in talk back. The reaction in talk back was quite passionate and serious: about what's happening now in the Gulf, about not having a decent health insurance plan for the people who can't pay, about the cover-up with Corexit and how this can effect future marine life and create more health issues to the community.  About what the government is doing.  About what we can all do to make a difference with our environment. About who are you as a playwright and activist. About the multi-reading and participating venues. The audience agreed this was a great idea to create awareness and the keep the conversation going.  I invited the audience to go to NoPassport blog to continue conversation how the reading affected them or just express what's on their mind about the BP spill and it's consequences to the people and the environment.

Yes the audience did get into play. I think they mostly were engaged to Yuki and Jimmy's relationship which read by my actors was strong and very real. The four friends scenes have a diverse pacing with clarity on the goals of each character.  Jimmy and Rosalie's last scene is sad and hard but hopeful and nostalgic, which provoked the audience's hearts to melt. An audience member with her husband and two teenage girls, came up to me and could hardly speak because she was choking with emotion. A senior lady was asking so many questions about the region environment's devastation, what's up with the dolphins, the birds?  This created a lot of reactions of what is each one of us doing here and now to save our environment .  Like I said the audience became passionate and vocal. 
I staged the play with a prop net and characters caught in it. A most engaging metaphor for the audience as they entered.
In all, the story with it's upbeat dialogue, underscored with bits of song and rhythm of the Gulf culture, presented us with real colorful characters dealing with devastating life issues and hanging on to hope and faith. A winner to me! 
It has been a journey for all of us. A real awakening for sure with the question in our minds: "what are you going to do about it?"
Thank you so much for inspiring us all again with your stories and questions provoked by them!

The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read at Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 7th, 2012 at 2pm.