The Water Sings Blue cast researched, replicated and rehearsed to bring Kate Coombs’ children’s book to life.
The cast worked together to create a story about the beach and the sea as well as to develop characters because the book consisted of poems, void of plot or characters.
Britney Miles’s character grew naturally according to director Teresa Love. Miles said the cast made the connection between her role and her duties as the play’s stage manager.
“I’m here to make sure everyone can do the show but also that everyone is safe and it’s the same as a life guard on the beach,” Miles said.
They then went over the poems and decided which ones held true to the characters they invented, who would say what lines. Cast member Sierra Docken said they had to figure out how to tell the story within the poetry vignette.
“It was actually a really cool process,” Docken said.
The cast received a take-home assignment after rehearsals. They researched ocean geography, marine animals, ocean tides and coral formation. Fun facts they learned included the mating cycle of seahorses and that octopi have a brain for each leg. They gave presentations on terms used in Coombs’ poetry.
Docken said they observed the animals at the aquarium and swam in the wave pool at Seven Peaks to memorize the pull and push of the water.
“So when we developed the acting we could depict things accurately,” Docken said.
Teresa Love said the students did not complain about their extra homework.
“They needed that research,” Love said.
Cast member Logan Ruesch said they read other children’s books about the ocean to see how children learned, discover and visualize.
“They are more than little people; they are intelligent beings,” Ruesch said.
Children sat on straw mats while the actors interacted with them throughout the show. Docken said it required her to give more of herself as an actress, constantly aware of the children, including them, knowing where they were and being flexible as children are unpredictable.
“I always thought of myself as a giving actor but when we had kids it was a whole new level of giving,” Docken said.
Logan explained this is a different theater experience.
“We are asking people quite literally to enter a new world and learn and grow with us,” Logan said.
Teresa Love chose this as a theater project after she read Water Sings Blue. Love said she missed the beach every day after living in Los Angeles, New Hampshire and visiting the Carribbean.
“I thought it would be a lovely thing to take to kids who are not near the edge of the world,” Love said.
Kate Coombs saw the Young Company play in the Fine Arts Center Saturday, Sep 26, at the two o’clock matinee.
“It’s fun to see one art form converted to another art form,” Coombs said. “I loved the way they captured what’s at the beach.”