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

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

Ligia Lewis’ Water Will (in Melody) was an absolutely incredible blend of dance and theater, yet bewitching and utterly terrifying. I sat down in a plush chair, as my classmates plopped down in chairs surrounding me and miscellaneous chatter filled my ears. As I peered at the dark curtains I was not sure what to expect, but it was certainly nothing near what I was about to see. As the lights gradually faded, I felt myself dissolving into the darkness along with the rest of the audience. As an eerie blue light shone across the curtains and the first actress slowly crawled out, my heart started to beat faster, my hands began to sweat, and my body grew tense in my seat. A haze shared by the stage and audience ensured that the stage and performers did not feel like a separate world the audience was meant to observe. Instead, the cool moisture and fog made me envision myself in a deep, dark, spooky cave, which was enhanced as Part 2 of the play brought strange sounds of water dripping and the stage grew covered in puddles of water. I felt lost, like I had happened upon a place I was not supposed to be... not like I was sitting in a theater watching just any other play. Although I was surrounded by my classmates, I felt alone and afraid. I even clutched my friend’s hand for comfort. I found myself constantly on edge, constantly asking, "what’s going to happen next?"

I was captivated by the sharp, almost robotic movements each of the performers made throughout the play. Their quick, choppy, and almost violent actions paired with startling distorted facial expressions were horrifying, yet impossible to look away from. The way they contorted their bodies and faces was a defining factor in creating the overall atmosphere of the room. Their movements were clearly long thought out, making every moment of the play unique and imperative to making the story.

There was a moment where strobe lights flashed on the audience for an uncomfortable amount of time. Everyone glanced around at each other confused and clearly uneased. Afterwards a spotlight was shone on different people in the audience, and one could see the apparent discomfort in their faces as they felt everyone’s eyes turn on them. These key moments built the tension in the room even higher and added to the overall suspense. There was tension built on all levels. There was tension in the performers faces, when they appeared to be screaming or trying to speak but no sound came out. There was tension built when the performers completely stopped moving in the middle of an action and the world seemed to pause at an unsatisfying time. There was also tension built in the overall plot. What did the movements and incomprehensible words mean about the story? The entirety of the play was mesmerizing and left the audience in awe and wondering how to interpret what they had just seen.

Isaballea Nordstedt is a student at the University of Washington