The Light is Like Water (2007)

Brendan Ragan as the narrator. This was one of the closing images.

The magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez always makes me want to stage his work. I won’t lie that I have often fantasized about a full-text version of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. His brand of magic is something I’m always fascinated about bringing to the stage–I always want there to be something slightly magical in each production.

I decided to tack “The Light is Like Water”, which is one of Garcia Marquez’ short stories, in front of our winter 2007 production of La Muneca, a tragic play written by Single Carrot ensemble member Aldo Pantoja about homeless children at Christmas time. “Light is Like Water” was a lovely fit, focusing on two boys who take sailing adventures in their own living room until tragedy strikes.

I wanted to experiment with shadows, so we fashioned a projection surface out of three sheets which we attached to the ceiling (it looked like it could have been a massive sail), which we knew we could take down in less than five minutes for the second half of the production.

We used the front of two $9 Ikea lamps for versatile spot lights, and had a slide projector which was used for images and also to highlight certain aspects of the script. I wanted to test to see if we could get most of the characters performed in shadow by one single actor.

Behind the curtain.

The biggest problem with this production is that we rehearsed and teched it in four hours time total, so it ended up rougher than I would have liked–but it did help me dive into a very different type of production than my previous work on Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp, where I closely followed the script. Since this piece was taken directly from a short story, it was up to me to divise the staging, which was important to me since the next production I was going to direct was Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Below is the video. Brendan Ragan read the story, Aldo Pantoja served as the main shadow actor, and Giti Jabaily and Genevieve de Mahy were the spot operators, and Jessica Garrett and Joey Bromfield handled the projector. The music was composed by Tyson Ratering.