Review: A BODY OF WATER at Shakespeare & Company

A Roller Coaster of a Ride That Will Likely Leave you asking What The ____?

By: Jun. 24, 2024
Review: A BODY OF WATER at Shakespeare & Company
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Shakespeare & Company is well known for its presentation of both classics as well as new and sometimes unique works.  The latter is very much the case for the 47th season opener – A BODY OF WATER written by Lee Blessing and directed by James Warwick

Review: A BODY OF WATER at Shakespeare & Company
Kevin O'Rourke, Bella Merlion
Photo: Ken Yotsukura

With a revised script staged only once before, A BODY OF WATER tells the story of Moss and Avis, a sophisticated and successful couple, who wake up one morning in an isolated summer house high above a picturesque body of water. The weather’s fine; the view’s magnificent. There’s only one problem — neither of them can remember who they are. When a young woman named Wren arrives, information starts to flood in. But will it help? Her explanations seem only to make Moss and Avi’s world — as well as ours — more terrifying.

Review: A BODY OF WATER at Shakespeare & Company
Kevin O'Rourke, Bella Merlion
Photo: Ken Yotsukura

You may be familiar with Experiential Theatre, or perhaps Immersive Theatre. This piece may best be described as something completely different than anything I have seen previously and suggest it could be termed “Labyrinthine Theatre”.  The premise, structure, dialog and execution are, well, brilliant. Audience members are dropped into the middle of a situation as the action plays out, we find ourselves searching for clues, crumbs, tidbits that will help us to compartmentalize and unweave what feels at times like a mystery, a thriller, an existential crisis, a common modern family dynamic, and perhaps, something maniacal and heart-wrenching.

The ensemble cast includes Kevin O’Rourke as Moss, Bella Merlion as Avis, and Caroline Calkins as Wren.  The creative team includes Set Designer Partrick Brennan, Sound Designer Caroline Eng, Costume Designer Jasen Engle, Stage Manager Anthony Feola, and Assistant Stage Manager Lyra Abbott.  Their combined efforts are undeniably strong. 

Review: A BODY OF WATER at Shakespeare & Company
Bella Merlion, Kevin O'Rourke,Caroline Calkins
Photo: Ken Yotsukura

At times A BODY OF WATER seems to resemble the works of Agatha Christie, perhaps Alfred Hitchcock.  Twists and turns abound. You will laugh heartily and often; and quite likely find yourself “feeling all the feels”.  I certainly did. I also found myself mouth agape for much of the production.

A BODY OF WATER continues at Shakespeare & Company’s Roman Garden Theatre through July 21.




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