In the course of the play, water takes a central imagistic role — sometimes it’s a stand-in for peace and calm, other times it’s explicitly a marker of death by drowning. Director Shawn LaCount has said that all the characters in the play feel, at some point, the pressure and need for air that a person caught underwater would encounter. They are all looking for a way to swim, to succeed, to deal with the circumstances of their lives. Only Anthony finds his way to the surface; Fran and Nicole may reach it as well. There are moments where each character might have the potential to surface, to breathe again, and moments where the pressure nearly crushes them.
A selective list of water images evoked throughout the play: the Middle Passage; Davey’s drowning; Mike’s implied trauma in the water connected to Davey’s death; the feeling of invincibility in the water quickly transformed to mortality; Anthony’s love of the “black hole” in the harbor beyond the lighthouse; the way Lisa hears water sometimes; the way the lighthouse and harbor feel peaceful to Anthony and Nicole; the implication that the most expensive houses in town are the ones nearest the water; Aline’s feeling that the ocean is peaceful; Lisa’s Caribbean vacation….
Scenic Designer Cristina Todesco and Lighting Designer Jen Rock are also playing with the feeling of water, and of light filtering through water, as a component of the play in production.
The work of artist Jason De Caires Taylor is particularly evocative here. He creates concrete statues of people in everyday positions, installs them underwater, and waits for corals to create sculptural reefs. His installations change in shape and color over time, but the human forms remain.
On the feeling of drowning…