The Water Station

A slow-tempo, wordless performance.  Sixteen travelers cross an apocalyptic landscape, finding hope and relief as they encounter a constant trickle of water.

 

Though there is a script detailing character action, the actors were not provided with it.  Following the basic structure of the original, they worked with the director, Héctor Alvarez, to devise their own characters, movements, and motivations.  The play was in flux through most of the production process, which meant exploring many sound design concepts before deciding what the piece needed.

 

The original production called for heavy use of two classical pieces.  Eventually, we opted for a more minimal, diegetic approach and heightened moments with music and static coming from an old radio on stage.  Sometimes, the characters interacted with it; other times, the music crumbled into static and spit out swells and blurbs of sound as it struggled for signal.  Only one speaker was used.  Silence and the sound of the water on stage were critical. 

 

My primary strategy was to manipulate wordless music and static.  I cut up, stretched, layered, and looped sounds to tell stories that sometimes matched and sometimes juxtaposed the narrative on stage.  Many cues were quiet and minimal, smoothly weaving in and out of the silences and being careful not to overpower the trickling water itself.  The radio became its own character; the quality of the static itself had its own character arc.

 

My beautiful Silkie hen, Buckbeak, was a character in the show.  I had the joy of teaching the actors how to handle her.  She brought such delight to the production team and audience alike. 

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The Water Station (Mizu no eki)

Written by Ōta Shōgo

The Girl: Ava Hase

The Girl: Emma Crawfis

Man 1: Oscar Hernandez

Man 2: Gary Cook

Woman with Wig: River Collins

Husband: Adam Peltier

Wife: Lily Rutman

Man in the Pile of Junk: Henry Winship

Man 3: Brent Charles

The Caravan: Jeannette Srinivasan, Sofia Rahaniotis, Alice Guo, Hugh Lewis, Carter Prentiss, Chacha Tahng

Man with a Heavy Load on His Back: Devin McLean

Produced at Walt Disney Modular Theater, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

February, 2022

Director: Héctor Alvarez

Scenic Designer: Chusu Kim

Lighting Designer: Claire Chrzan

Costume Designer: Yuwei Hu

Sound Designer: Clare Marie Nemanich

Technical Director: Naomi Miyahara

Master Electrician: Aaron Wilson

Assistant Scenic Designer: Benny Pitt

Assistant Lighting Designer: Matthew Duran

Assistant Lighting Designer: Grady Schleuder

Assistant Costume Designer: Ashley Snyder

Assistant Costume Designer: Yi-Lun Chien

Producer: Yameng Deng

Associate Production Manager: Katherine Paez Froehlich

Company Stage Manager: Jordie Marie Rippon

Assistant Company Stage Manager: Cassy Sottile

Stage Manager: Carina Yuan

Assistant Stage Manager: House Dow

Assistant Stage Manager: Sami Hansen