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.
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
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