THICKER THAN WATER to Open 9/3 ta Barter Theatre
On September 3, Barter Theatre opens the world premiere play "Thicker Than Water," which takes a compelling look at the events leading up to and following one of the most discussed crimes of this century: one that caught the attention of the nation.
On June 20, 2001, Andrea Yates drowned each of her five children-ages six month to seven years-in the family bathtub. The story shocked the nation as people asked, "How could a loving mother of a religious family do such a thing?"
Occurrences like these are too important to forget. While we want to blame some single reason for causing such behavior, events like these are also too complex to be left simply to the media.
"Thicker Than Water" playwright Douglas M. Parker uses the actual words from the court transcripts, along with police interviews and media coverage of the Andrea Yates trial to craft the play, but is careful to point out that this is not a re-enactment nor is it a documentary. The idea behind this play is to take an actual event and turn it into a unique type of theatricality as a way to get to a truthful examination of the events that lead to this tragedy.
Why would a mother murder her own children?
Was it post partum depression? Was it her husband's disconnect toward her troubled spirit? Was it mental illness? It is known that Yates was on heavy anti-psychotic drugs before and after the event and had been previously treated for depression. Was it Andrea's fear of the devil? Perhaps the answer cannot be narrowed down to a single factor.
"We have engaged in powerful discussions about the purpose and the value in producing this incredible play," said Richard Rose. "I could easily write a ten page essay including the insightful and compelling remarks from the cast as to why they think this work of theatre is so important for our audience to experience. But suffice it to say that we desire for our audience to experience this play without our interference; so they can discover for themselves and discuss with us what they draw from Doug's poetic and deep look at this event."
Rose believes attendees will desire to discuss the play, so a post show discussion is scheduled immediately following ever single performance. This will give audience members a chance to interact with cast and collaborators to share thoughts about the significance of the play and the impact it has for our current society.
Highlands Community Services is partnering with Barter Theatre by providing therapists to engage with the audience as a part of the post show discussions.
"We are happy to assist with the discussions concerning 'Thicker Than Water," and are appreciative that Barter Theatre considers the ramifications that may sometimes result when an audience views a work of this nature. We believe strongly in the concept of 'trauma-informed care' and we are glad to see Barter believes in providing 'trauma-informed theater,'" said Danielle Lamson, communications manager for Highlands Community Services.
"Parker's play, fashioned into a poetic and powerful theatrical experience-one you will never forget-is really not so much about Andrea Yates as it is about ourselves," said Rose. "We, as a society and as individuals, are defined through such events as these."
Because of the content of this show, Barter Theatre is not recommending for under age of 17.
"Thicker Than Water" is made possible by corporate sponsors: Big Weenie Productions and media sponsors: ABC19 andWashington County News.