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KSFR-FM Radio Cafe and Theatre Paraguas Ensemble


KSFR-FM Radio Cafe interview with Mary Charlotte Domandi and The Way of Water ensemble, broadcast Wednesday, April 18. link to podcast

Teatro Paraguas presents a staged reading of THE WAY OF WATER a new play by Caridad Svich which focuses on the lives of two Louisiana couples in the aftermath of the BP Gulf oil spill in April 2010. Over 50 readings are taking place around the country and the world in April. 8:00 pm. Free, donations welcome.


Aditi Brennan Kapil on THE WAY OF WATER


by Aditi Brennan Kapil

I had the privilege of experiencing The Way of Water as it was being created, hearing installments nightly in our Lark Play Development Center Winter Writers Group. What struck me first about Caridad's play was the gorgeous, authentic, poetic language in which her characters lived their lives. I was already completely in love with them when I discovered that the world was rotting away their food source and their bodies. That's the gift of this play, Caridad's ability to anchor something as large and incomprehensible as environmental disaster in the humanity that both caused it and is being destroyed by it. To see us all as part of this greater organism, it's powerful, it's gorgeous, it's chilling.

Aditi Brennan Kapil is an actress, writer, and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent. She was raised in Sweden, and resides in Minneapolis, MN. She has performed extensively in the Twin Cities and around the country, her writing has been nationally produced to critical acclaim. For more of Aditi's current projects, check out her website


THE WAY OF WATER at Ball State University

By Wendy Mortimer, Director and Associate Professor

When Caridad invited us to be part of the International Reading Scheme, I immediately said, "Yes." Because it was Caridad. The way she uses language to explore and reveal the edges of human relationships, our relationship to the earth and to our ancestors resonates in ways that are universal. Add to this the possibility of offering a strong example of theatre for social change, and adding our voices to the larger global issue of the right to access of clean water... and it seemed like the perfect storm.
Due to limited resources and an already overloaded production calendar, we opted for the reading to reach the university community rather than focus on outreach to the local community. The reading was simple, with actors using only the language to bring the characters and their unimaginable realities to life in the space between each other and the audience. 
The many actors, directors, designers, stage managers, theatre education majors that attended the reading were shocked to hear about the ramifications of the efforts of the "clean-up" and struggled to match this new knowledge with what they'd been reading in the papers. 
Since the reading, students have been asking about how they can be a part of NoPassport and other socially aware theatre movements. And though the reading didn't reach into the larger community, it was heartening to hear students respond so fully to the writing, articulating how the imagery, truth, and depth is the type of text they'd like to work with. To a generation of actors that tends to focus on getting cast more on giving back, this proved to be a project that planted seeds in every single young artist in the audience... of what theatre can do, what it can reveal, the action it can inspire. This reading allowed students to look with new eyes at the country they thought they knew. There are ripples now where the water was once still. 
And that is a great, great thing here in rural Indiana. 
I cannot thank NoPassport enough for this piece, their extreme generosity in opening it up to the community in the form of this reading scheme, and for the development of a company with a laudable mission statement. 
I look forward to future reading schemes that will undoubtedly allow us to create more interdisciplinary relationships and also reach into the local community. 
In regards to the actors involved, it is the strongest work I've ever seen them do. The rhythms in the text, the intricacies in the relationships both onstage and when speaking of ancestors brought out in the actors a vibrancy that held the audience for the entire length of the reading. It was thrilling to see/hear them soar - focusing only on the language (no light cues, set, sound - just the words into the space). 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the opportunity to reach towards the upcoming generation of BFA students - for broadening their definition of possibility in the arts.
The Way of Water by Caridad Svich, was read at Ball State University on April 23rd, 2012, directed by Wendy Mortimer.

Playwright Vern Thiessen on THE WAY OF WATER

by Vern Thiessen, Playwright

This past December, it was my great privilege to work together with a group of playwrights at the Lark New Play Development Centre's winter retreat.  Within six sessions spread over a short period, each of us created a play and shared it with the others. The group was diverse and the work eclectic.  One of those plays was THE WAY OF WATER. Every week (and sometimes twice) I bore witness not only to Caridad's play being created, but also to a world unveiled, to lives unravelled, to secrets unearthed, to dreams broken, to change taking hold. Watching that play being born was - and remains - a profound theatre experience for me. Perhaps because of the time lag I experienced between scenes, I became obsessed with the play and its people. I thought about them, worried for them, dreamt about them and wondered what would happen to them between readings.  I am not a fan of serial television. I don't get "hooked" on shows as a rule. But Caridad's play lured and hooked me, like the fish the play's characters are so desperately trying to catch. And like the oil to those fish, I too became infected with something, not poison, but an outrage that I rarely feel in the theatre. LIke an Ibsen or Churchill play, THE WAY OF WATER asks difficult questions, not only of its characters, but of its audience. The questions still linger with me.  I will never look at a stream, a river, a lake, or an ocean the same way.

Vern Thiessen is one of Canada's most produced playwrights. His plays have been seen across Canada, the United States, Asia, the United Kingdon, the Middle East, and Europe. Website:

THE WAY OF WATER at the National Theater Institute

by Georgina Escobar

I got an email from Caridad early this year in which she introduced me to this project and asked, ‘would the National Theater Institute be up for staging a reading?’ Sure, I thought. Not really knowing the scheduling and ends and ways of the National Theater Institute
But I read the script and loved it. Immediately, I hurried down the steps of the old Hammond Mansion at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center to the little office at the end of the hallway. “NTI”. Known for their infamous slogan “Risk. Fail. Risk Again.” My solitary days at the O’Neill consist of being on the third floor with the rest of the Literary Office team. There, surrounded by books, acting as guardians of text and words, we seldom see the inner-workings of our sister entities on campus. I felt it was necessary to create that bridge. I took the script to the Artistic Director and she assured me it was something wonderful, for a great cause, worth doing and very fitting to NTI’s aesthetic of surprising the students and the community with bold new play readings from writers-in-residence, or in this case, Caridad Svich.
The National Theater Institute is a conservatory of theater in which twenty to thirty students submerge themselves in the solitary grounds of the Eugene O’Neill for thirteen weeks to study theater. They work seven days a week, a minimum of ten-hours a day refining their skills in acting, directing, playwriting, movement, voice amongst others.  Because of the intense atmosphere it also breeds a sort of silent community that is palpable when you first set foot on the grounds. I believe this was probably what happened to Caridad when she first arrived, an honorary guest to her reading of “Way of Water” on Earthday weekend. You would expect a natural fuzz and buzz to follow such great combination, but this is the O’Neill. People here love the intimate. Our audiences expect rough, expect process, expect breakthroughs.
That was exactly what happened on that Saturday. The actors met for the first time a few hours before lunch-time. The script had been slightly re-written after a reading at the Lark, so I was literally handing them material as they walked through the door. I was nervous. In all honesty I believed this was an NTI event. I had passed the torch, and given them my Mexican blessing—which consists of making the sign of the cross mid-air as if casting a sort of minor magic. But it is common amongst this community of artists for us to always think as collaborators. I jumped in. I wanted the reading to show the words, I wanted the actors to convey the message, I wanted the audience to be as moved as I was when I read it. I wanted the audience to walk out of there and say: I want to make a difference and I don’t know how. Then I wanted them to go out and research and get informed, and find ways to pay attention. I wanted this piece to change their world. 
And just like that catholic gesture cast upon them that day, the reading proved itself to be a form of minor magic itself. It cast its own charm. The actors, reading it for the first time where possessed by the immaculate crafting of the cadence and beats and rhythms and moods. The audience danced along. The intimate Dina Merril Theater (a black box that is actually a BLUE box due to its initial venture into becoming a Television/Film studio) transformed itself into the world of the play.
Between acts, I stumbled outside and asked my friend and Literary Manager if he could moderate the talk-back, he does it every summer within our Conferences. ‘No’ he said, ‘You can do it.’
But I wanted to know everything! Moderate? That sounds nothing like me. I wanted to ask Caridad about her process, about character construction, about impact, about the future of this campaign, about her thoughts on how theater can change the collective consciousness on environmental awareness. I wanted to know it all. When the time to ‘moderate’ came, all the questions seemed to sum up into one: “Why Now?” and immediately I made quick eye contact with Caridad and I could have sworn that within both of us the answer was “Well. Why NOT.” She elevated the simple answer and allowed her audience into the world of her plays, reaching out to some far back and speaking of the importance of revisiting forms of writing that were present early on. She spoke of the importance of being aware of our worlds crisis’ at all times, because we are artists, because we are creators, because we are alive. This was better than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day for the NTI students. This is what we crave: to be told that all of us are connected and have a sense of purpose. I could feel their bodies lean in as Caridad spoke of the creation of character and her journey as a writer. Then people asked such things as ‘what’s next?’ ‘will this be presented in those affected communities’ and ‘how do you know when to let go of something you’ve written.’ The questions and conversation varied and the intimate blue-box felt suddenly like a campfire.
Jorge Luis Borges states in the last line of one of his poems; “Everything happens for the first time, but in a way that is eternal. Whoever reads my words is inventing them.” That night we met up with some audience members at the local Dutch Tavern and it was evident then as it was at the theater, this piece will go on to change people, and as it happens simultaneously with colleges and communities around the world, this message and those words will happen for the first time, but in a way that is….eternal.
Georgina H. Escobar, M.F.A
Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Literary Office
The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read on April 21, 2012 at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

THE WAY OF WATER in Pretoria, South Africa

by Henco Jacob

"Being a part of a reading of this nature reminds one of the devastation and social implications such a tragedy has on an environment and its inhabitants, not only when the tragedy occurs, but long afterwards when we have all forgotten and have continued with our own lives. The important theme of speaking out and standing up for what is right and not to let life just continue on its ‘merry’ way should become ingrained into our everyday lives. It was a privilege to be a part of this international undertaking."

The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read at the University of Pretoria, Main campus, on April 13th, 2012 at the Lier Theatre, Marie-Heleen Coetzee, director.

What I learned from THE WAY OF WATER at IUP

by Christina Soracco, stage management student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

The way I got involved in this project was both, in my opinion, bit random and perhaps a stroke of luck for both Jason and myself. I had initially contacted Prof. Chimonides with a project of my own, as I am a playwright just starting out, and was asking for help with what was to be the second workshop for me. This turned into one of those you scratch my back I'll scratch yours sort of deals. I was of course thrilled to help Jason. When Prof. Chimonides first came to me looking for help for IUP’s reading of Caridad Svich’s The Way of Water I initially thought that it would be fun, and a nice thing to do. I would be helping Prof. Chimonides out with one of his projects.

A couple of days passed and I heard nothing and then he sent out about 10 e-mails to me. Most of these were just correspondence e-mails but two or three really started me on, what I now consider to be a journey, this project. Those e-mails contained first and foremost the script, which I consider to be the body of this whole project and then also the No Passport website and the Indigogo website. I perused the sites in my free time that day and couldn't wait to read script, which I did later that night. It was beautiful. Heart wrenching.

We read through the script with the whole cast the night before. In my opinion that was moving in itself. They were really able to immerse themselves in the characters they portrayed and played very well off of each other. So will actually I asked them if they read through it before together over the weekend. Of course they hadn’t but it being my first experience with something like this I was pretty amazed. On the night of what I refer to as the official reading, they read it even better. My naïve-ness led me to believe such a thing was not possible, I'm glad they proved me wrong. Watching them once again interact with each other and with the inclusion of the audience was something that was just incredible to me.
Talking about incredible the line that stuck out to me the most was the last line on page 91 “Man can't get sick in this country.” This is also found on the indigo go website and just reading it alone before I read through the script I thought it was talking about our ability as a race to prevent sickness among ourselves. Obviously this was incorrect and that was made clear after I read through the script. But Jimmy's words mean to me, is that in their line of work, which has been turned upside down by the oil spill and the chemicals that were distributed, they can't afford to get sick. If they do they lose everything.
This really struck a chord with me because it's so hard to believe how heartless and how willing these big oil companies are to look other way. In my opinion, their job is not even close to being finished. They have ruined the livelihoods of countless numbers of families along the coastal region they're acting as though everything is just fine, that's just messed up.
I guess it's me getting a little bit off topic in that last paragraph. We have a talkback at the end of our reading and some parts of people's families lived in the affected regions. Should the person who spoke said that her family reunions in the last couple years sounded a lot like the script. We all laughed at first, because, I'm guessing, of, the language. We’re so far away from it up here in Pennsylvania that it's for and to us at whatever we talk of rednecks this is kind of what we imagine so in that way it was humorous. After the initial response, which might’ve lasted all of five seconds it got very serious. The atmosphere in the room changed as reality settled in. I think that everyone walked away from this perhaps with more than they bargained for, but when it's about spreading the word of something so important I think we did a good job.
I have come out of work with this project, not only with something I can add to my resume haha, but with a deeper understanding of many things. The first and foremost being a critically deeper understanding of the effects of the BP oil spill. I also learned partly what sort of time and effort goes into spreading the word, getting people to show up, getting the community involved, finding actors and overall just getting this thing up and running. This was a great experience for me and I am honored to be part of something like this. I think it really shows us how easily things can be forgotten, and held something like a play can enlighten us so much.
The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read on April 10th, 2012 at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, directed by Jason Chimonides. 

20 April 2012

Two years ago today, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform killed 11 men and initiated the largest marine oil spill in history, with roughly five million barrels released from the Macondo well, with roughly 4.2 million barrels pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

To provide factual information and curricular resources about this disaster, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) and our Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) have created the Online Clearinghouse for Education And Networking: Oil Interdisciplinary Learning (OCEAN-OIL) a free, open-access, peer-reviewed electronic education resource about the Deepwater Horizon disaster


OCEAN-OIL resources now available at include:
•       National Commission Reports on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill- all of the 30 official reports and many background papers
•       Articles (160+)  hyper-linked, encyclopedia style
•       Teaching resources (30) including games and teacher guides
•       Glossary (400+) related to oil spill causes, impacts, clean-up, and prevention
•       Acronyms (LPG,  PPM,  ROV,  VOC) (75+) to help decode the language of oil spill science
•       External links (100+) to  government sites, image galleries, news sources, industry, environmental groups, education, and journal articles
•        Photo galleries: Images by renowned photojournalist Gary Braasch and others
•        Deepwater Horizon by the Numbers: Publication-quality graphs
•       Videos (280+)
•       Databases - Statistics, technical diagrams, maps, and other data
The OCEAN-OIL website is seamlessly integrated into the Encyclopedia of Earth (, which is a free, peer-reviewed, searchable collection of content about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society, written by expert scholars and educators. The site is designed to be a resource to faculty members and other educators who may use the incident in their teaching.
The project is a partnership among NCSE, CEDD, Louisiana State University and Boston University. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.
For more information, contact:
David E. Blockstein, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary,
Council of Environmental Deans and Directors
Senior Scientist
National Council for Science and the Environment
1101 17th St. NW #250
Washington DC 20036
202-207-0004 direct
202-530-5810 general

The Way of Water at University of Nebraska at Omaha

by Sarah Fogarty, graduate student at University of Nebraska at Omaha

On April 10th in coordination with the graduate seminar course Women by Women, we held a staged reading of Caridad Svich’s The Way of Water.  We had a small but very interested audience, comprised of students, faculty, and community members.

My experience with the play began earlier in the semester, during the first few weeks of classes.  A fellow graduate student told us about the reading scheme after Caridad sent an email to her and our professor, Dr. Cindy Melby Phaneuf.  We had the wonderful experience of producing another one of Caridad’s plays, 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs), in December at UNO.  Cindy also directed Caridad’s play Alchemy of Desire/Dead Man’s Blues this past summer for the Great Plains Theatre Conference, so we have enjoyed a close relationship with Caridad and jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

Cast as Neva, I was initially drawn in by the beauty and rhythm of such self-described, “back of the woods” people like the Robichauxs and Skows.  There are so many stereotypes of such individuals (I am all too familiar with country bumpkin stereotypes being originally from Kentucky), that I think is hard for dramatists to paint them as anything more than caricatures.  But this was different; I immediately connected with each one of them, especially Rosalie, who I felt for so much that I was afraid my heart would break.

For me, the play wasn’t so much about the issue of the BP Oil Spill; it was more about the way that we, as humans, deal with a disaster, of any kind.  During rehearsals, we discussed how people try to learn as much as they can about their current situation, even if they have very little formal training in the subject.  All the characters became actively involved in learning about their situation and devising solutions on how things might be fixed.  When I was little and my grandpa was dying of cancer, I remember my father and mother painstakingly remembering the details of what the doctors told them, thinking that maybe if they understood what was happening biologically, it might make them feel better.  But the science of it never makes it more human; it just distances us from our soul.

The moments that affected me the most were between Jimmy and Rosalie; especially when Rosalie describes the sweater that Jimmy bought her at Target: even though it was too expensive, he bought it anyway because he knew that she wanted it.  Even the not so tender moments between Rosalie and Jimmy were heart wrenching, when Jimmy accused Rosalie of spending money on lipstick at the Dollar Store, or when he accused her of mismanaging the finances when he was in the hospital.  Rosalie goes on to describe the lengths to which she went to make ends meet, though in the end, it wasn’t enough.

In a post-reading discussion with the graduate seminar class, we extended our discussion of how this play can live in many different worlds. There are startling similarities between the oil spill and mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia where coal mining companies have literally been blowing the tops off mountains with little concern.  It is amazing to think of how little the cost of not only our Earth, but also animals and other human beings means to these large companies.  And we, by relying on coal and oil are contributing to the problem.  When will it stop? Will it ever stop? Is there not anything that can be done about it? “Just keep on the keep on” Yuki says to Jimmy, but is that enough? Can it ever be enough?

This play is full of strong emotions as well as unanswered questions.  Sometimes I think it would have been easier if I hadn’t read it, then I wouldn’t feel so conflicted inside:  what can I do about this? Anything?  Is it any of my business? Is it a hopeless cause? Even though I hate that I am conflicted by this, it makes me feel a greater appreciation for the human spirit and mother earth, and I am motivated to help protect them: Ignorance isn’t always bliss, even though it wants to be.

The Way of Water by Caridad Svich was read on April 10th, 2012 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, directed by Dr. Cindy Melby PhaneufActors included Zack Jennison (Jimmy), Thais Flait Giannoccaro (Rosalie), Colt Neidhardt (Yuki), and Sarah Fogarty (Neva). 

From the Tampa Bay Times

"Oil from Deepwater Horizon spill still causing damage in the Gulf 2 years later, scientists say"

article by Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer. In Print: Sunday, April 15, 2012.


"On Florida's Panhandle beaches, where local officials once fretted over how much oil washed in with each new tide, everything seems normal. The tourists have returned. The children have gone back to splashing in the surf and hunting for shells.

Every now and then, a tar ball as big as a fist washes ashore. That's the only apparent sign that the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history tainted these sugar-white sands two years ago.

But with an ultraviolet light, geologist James "Rip" Kirby has found evidence that the oil is still present, and possibly still a threat to beachgoers.

Tiny globs of it, mingled with the chemical dispersant that was supposed to break it up, have settled into the shallows, mingling with the shells, he said. When Kirby shines his light across the legs of a grad student who'd been in the water and showered, it shows orange blotches where the globs still stick to his skin.

"If I had grandkids playing in the surf, I wouldn't want them to come in contact with that," said Kirby, whose research is being overseen by the University of South Florida. "The dispersant accelerates the absorption by the skin."

As those blotches show, the gulf and its residents are still coping with the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which began with a fiery explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. Read More