REVIEW: Water People

The writing successfully communicated the difficult reality.

By Oumar Salifou

Set on a corner stage with one stool and panoramic lights, Water People is an intimate slice-of-life play performed by Ellen Arrand. Sometimes painful stories are delivered with appropriate meaning and timing by Arrand, inviting the audience to imagine the texture of their own domestic life and family.

The writing successfully communicated the difficult reality found in confessional admissions of shame around family strife that will probably make you wince. Estrangements, the chaos of palliative home care, past humiliations and slights all swirl around imaginative set scenes. It’s not that there aren’t a number of stories and plays rooted in nuclear family dynamics, and Water People could have easily fallen flat in its attempt at exposing redemptive and sometimes toxic family relationships. What made the play float so well was a balance between revealing details and almost universal familial experiences.

Water People fell short in a small way when lazy lines crept into the story. The description of a character visiting “Africa ” wasn’t intentional but came off as sloppy and undetailed.


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