Co-conceived by Sheila Callaghan and Daniella Topol, (Not) Water is an immersive experience that is intriguing and evocative. The theatrical piece is one element of the artistic endeavor that makes up Works on Water exhibit at 3LD Art & Technology Center. There are several interactive and visual art displays on the theme of water: how we use it, clean it, and interact with it.
Approaching the usage of water with science, and claiming they don’t want to get “too political,” the artists use blips of various water disasters over the past 20 years (Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami, Hurricane Sandy, floods in various parts of the world and the contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan) and everyday uses of water to high light how integral water is to our existence. Briefly they explore metaphors and myths of water as a way to tell water’s story, but ultimately they draw the our attention to water in a subtle and provoking way.
Audience participation is a key element to this production. The actors are less performers and more facilitators of how the audience moves through the space and interacts with each moment. It is clear when and how the audience should participate. The cast is made up of April Matthis, Polly Lee, Rebecca Hart, Mike Shapiro, Ethan Hova, Carmen M. Herlihy.
When the audience is asked to step out if the space, we are broken up into groups such that each group experiences something different. My experience was to witness an incredible performance by Carmen M. Herlihy as The Scientist, who specializes in water filtration, as she navigates a water crisis.
If the goal of the piece is to make us more conscious about how we treat and use water, I would say it is successful. You can find a complete list of the collaborators, exhibits and events at www.worksonwater.org.
(Not Water), New Georges in collaboration with Guerilla Science, 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich St. Closes June 30.