A Twist of Water

An audience member responds – by Beth Urech

Posted by Erica Weiss on March 7, 2011

On March 6th, I met and spoke with an audience member at A Twist of Water‘s sold-out Sunday matinee. Her name is Beth Urech, and this morning she sent me a lovely response to the play and has given me permission to post it here in full. Thank you so much!

A Twist of Water, Sunday, March 6, 2011

The bare and barren set exudes Chicago before A Twist of Water starts.  A curving wall above a two-tiered platform wraps around one side of the stage evoking the water’s edge at Division Street. A single bare tree branch protrudes high from the side wall signaling winter and despair.  On the other side of the stage, way up high, is a cut-out of our beloved Chicago skyline.  From my second row seat, I cannot see it well, but I know that skyline almost by heart.  It’s my Chicago.

Over the course of the play, John Boesche’s projections make Chicago history come alive.  A lonely first homestead, the crowded riverfront, the city pre and post fire, the Columbian Exposition stating, “Here we are.  Come and see us, you citizens of Paris, London, and New York.  We’re Chicago.”

We’re also the Chicago of Carl Sandburg with broad shoulders and little cat feet.  Carl is quoted by the English teacher (Alex Hugh Brown).

But A Twist of Water is more than a history or English lesson, although the two male characters are high school teachers of, yes, history and English.

A Twist of Water insinuates its way into our hearts and souls by telling a simple story of grief.  You want to know the plot?  Won’t it suffice if I tell you what I told Erica Weiss (Co-creator and director) afterwards in the lobby:  “This play is all that a play is meant to be.”

All right, then.  Dad (Stef Tovar) and teenage daughter (Falashay Pearson) are at odds.  They are grief stricken over the tragic death in a car accident of the other Dad whom Jira loved unconditionally. He was a doctor.  She plans to study medicine.  She grates under the constraint and clumsy surveillance of Dad Number Two. He’s the history teacher.  During the course of the play, he and the much younger English teacher become lovers which galls Jira who seeks out her birth mother. She needs her father’s help; eventually he offers it.  The meeting with 17 year old Jira and her mother now only 33 (Lili-Anne Brown) is heart wrenching and oh, so real.

I wept.  Most people in the audience wept. Is that why we go to the theatre? To shed a tear. No, we go to be transformed. We want to witness a human conflict that tears us from our warm complacency and hurdles us into a cold body of water. Then we want to be rescued and dried off so we can reenter the world knowing that life goes on and lives intertwine like A Twist of Water.
Beth Urech, after years as a speech &  communications consultant based in Switzerland, is segueing back into theatre in Chicago (bethurech.com) and recently established www.101010scholarship.info to support The Beaver Island Lighthouse School.

One Response to “An audience member responds – by Beth Urech”

  1. are you planning on remounting this? I would love to see it but wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule. Would love, love, love to see it, especially as I’m a big fan of Carl Sandburg and a huge Chicago-lover!

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