Reflections on Water Will (in Melody) | Part II Sep 23, 2019

A response to Water Will (in Melody) by Claire Kaplan (Sept 19-22, 2019)

All I can say is that I was unable to look away. The tension in the room, as soon as the first performer stepped on the stage, was never broken. The fog filled the dark room before the show even started and the audience waited looking into an uncomfortable pit of darkness. I felt that uneasiness was a big part of the performance. There was a moment where the curtains were closed and the audience was being blasted with a flashing light. The light wasn’t aggressive enough to hurt ones eyes but still created tension. The show never peaked but kept the same level of tension the whole time while keeping the audience engaged. The whole show itself was difficult for me to understand, but I didn’t care. I understood that it was going to be nonlinear, but I couldn’t even place it on a graph at all. Although, that is precisely what drew me in. I was searching for meaning until I didn’t feel the need to search anymore. I just took in what was happening.

There was a moment in the early stages of the show when I started to become emotional. I was on the brink of tears when I realized my emotion was coming from something I couldn’t point out. The intense sharp movements of the performers alone evoked strong emotion. I was emotional because I felt their pain through their movements and facial expression. There was no story needed. It was as though they were not in control of their own bodies. As though they wanted to regain self control but couldn’t.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that all the performers were women, but that may have been something I read too much into. In part two, all the performers started moving in ways that were quite sexualized. But what I thought was interesting is that they were actions of self gratification. Masturbation is not a commonly talked about topic regarding women, especially in older generations. In act one, the performer wearing the tight dress was stuck in a loop of falling and making sexualized motions, but not as intense motions as in act two. She seemed as though she was being told it was shameful. So, when they all started “masturbating” in act two, I was confused about whether it was an act of defiance or if they were being forced to do it. After watching, I was very confused about what the performance could represent. Although, now, I don’t think I really need to know. I know that every move and every article of clothing worn on that stage was intentional. I was moved and that is all I really desire from a performance.

Claire Kaplan is a student at the University of Washington