Caridad Svich's play The Way Of Water follows the lives of a group of impoverished people living on the coast of Louisiana in the wake of the BP oil spill.
Emily Zimmer, Eric Sharp, H. Adam Harris and Hope Cervantes in The Way Of Water. Photo by e.g. bailey
Critics agree that while Frank Theatre gives the play a solid production, the topic is a challenging one for the stage.
Svich places her characters in such dire straits that they have nowhere to go but inexorably, agonizingly down. While that might be journalistically accurate, that kind of one-way thematic provides for problematic drama.
H. Adam Harris and Hope Cervantes in "The Way of Water" at Frank Theatre
Photo by e.g. bailey
While Frank Theatre gives "The Way of Water" a solid production under Wendy Knox's direction, Svich's dialogue is annoyingly elliptical, leading to odd, jerky exchanges between the characters. In the throes of his illness, Jimmy repeatedly launches into flights of poetic prophesying so awkwardly transitioned that they seem affected rather than affecting.
Plays of this nature often suffer from character flatness (after all, it's an outside force the characters confront, not something that comes, more interestingly, from inside). The Way Of Water is no exception.
The Way of Water runs through September 30 at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. Have you seen it? What's your review?