Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reflections ... upon the surface of "The Bluest Water"

As of this post, only 3 performances of The Bluest Water remain. In many ways it's hard to believe or conceive! Heading into the final weekend of the show, the cast and crew share a sense of accomplishment and appreciation. Truly, though, all good things must come to an end.

The close of any production typically brings with it a variety of mixed feelings, and The Bluest Water is no exception. For many of the cast, especially those involved with both of the festival's shows, the number and frequency of performances have required the maintenance of a great deal of energy. Says Derek Arey (Neddy), "I look forward to being able to sleep."

Many of the cast have something new they can take away from this production. Michael Stablein, Jr. (Nathan / Tyler / Young Bobby) proudly indicates he has now mastered the art of applying mud makeup "without it looking like it's mud makeup."

For others, the end of the show more broadly signifies the end of the summer and the start of a new school semester (which may or not be eagerly anticipated). Thomas Bell (Detective / Chip Owens) was so flustered by the idea of a return to his campus that his description of what awaited him was "just a whole new stuff of bad things".

Were truer words ever uttered?

Kidding aside, The Bluest Water indeed has been an amazing experience for all involved. The most common sentiment shared in reflection about the show is that it will be greatly missed. For some, it is as with the close of any production; Casey Carden (Emory) states that all of his closest friends are in the theatre. "It gives me a reason and opportunity to hang out with many of the people I care for the most."

For others, the effect of the show itself will leave a lasting impression upon their remembrances. In the early stages, it's unsure if anyone could have imagined the production would prove so poignant, so powerful, and so popular. Not only did every scheduled performance sell out (and quickly!), but two extra performances (added this final week specifically to support the demand) also filled fast. The response from the public has been phenomenal. Says Wanda Bond (Nelson Ensemble), "It's obvious people have a lot of healing left to do." We've all been honored to serve as a part of that healing process.

Many of those real people, those real souls whose lives were touched by the Camille tragedy have shared their time and their stories with us. For Natalie Caruncho (Young Lizzie), "it's been a very intimate show. Learning the history, knowing this really happened, seeing the faces of some of the people who lived through it, and being aware we're sharing something so personal with them in that space ... that's what theatre is about."

Those words are very true.

The Bluest Water has demonstrated a variety of things. Many who've lived in this area for years don't know of Camille. Local-interest pieces can be engaging and dramatic. Tragedy touches us all. Some wounds take decades to heal. And we've served a purpose. We've entertained, we've enlightened, we've encouraged.

As with so many theatrical endeavors, this is of course not the end. At this point, it is all but certain that the production will be re-mounted as part (or an extension) of next year's festival, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the storm. Still, this particular stage of the show's life is drawing to a close.

We extend a huge thank-you to all who have attended, as well as those who wanted to attend but were unsuccessful. We appreciate all the insight given by those who provided their stories, willing to relive the tragedy for the benefit of all. And to our fellow cast and crew, we all extend a hearty "Well done!"

Jared M Anderson
Endstation Blogger

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