A Body of Water

“A Body of Water" is powerful production

Jim Cavener
Asheville Citizen-Times

May 8, 2009

The term psychological drama has become a cliche, too often used. Yet, if any single phrase could describe the Immediate Theatre Project's latest show, “A Body of Water,” this might be it. This script by Lee Blessing is a doozey, and is a major mind-bender. But, that's just for starters.

With “Body of Water” we have his consummate conundrum, an enigma shrouded in a quandary. There is a chronological challenge here, but more. The major characters wake each morning with no certainty of who they are and what they have in common.

We have this undefined couple, a possible daughter, and an unseen alleged murder victim. But, could she' be simply an angry child taking it out on befuddled parents? Or not their child at all? Who's playing who for what?

The stark but dazzlingly dramatic stage is set with chic white-on-black contemporary furnishings loaned by Mobilia.

Lighting uses intensity almost as ambient visual punctuation. It's a captivating trick and one which enriches the whole. These technical theater elements are lumped together as “production design” and attributed to Immediate Theatre Project. Clearly, director and company co-founder Hans Meyer (along with other ITP principals Lauren Fortuna and Willie Repoley) are behind this brilliance.

The cast is small but stellar: company veteran and local diva Kay Galvin is the woman, Avis, who may have a husband, and may have a daughter. The man, Moss, who may be husband and/or father is given by long-time N.C. School of the Arts acting professor Marty Rader. These are mature and well-rendered roles, well carrying much weight.

Maybe the most curious of the three roles is the younger woman, not a victim of dementia or amnesia, but more scary. Katie Fuller is aptly cast as Wren or Robin, or some bird-name, and needs only to speak a tad more slowly and loudly to give us all the nuances of this critical role. Is she working on legal defense or is she a sadistic manipulator? Loving daughter or vicious con-artist?

A murder mystery with frank sexual discussions, a high-tension game of power and control, some charming comedic moments amongst the tension, and a psycho-drama of intense dimensions all combined in one two hour experience. Asheville does do theater well.