TheatreTruck and The Swift River Valley Historical Society presented THE WATER PROJECT (IMMERSIVE), a site-specific theatrical journey with live music from September 22nd to the 24th.
Following are some reviews of the play:
“Bravo! I attended the 9.22 performance and was deeply moved: emotionally, visually, tenderly, and fiercely. My well has run dry (like many others in our region) and had just spent the day in ceremony to water at a sacred site in the Quabbin’s watershed for the Autumnal Equinox. Then I went to your performance at the end of the day. 13 thank yous!” – Phyllis Labanowski
“Outstanding performance last night! Congratulations to Emma and the entire cast and crew. We didn’t know what to expect and were completely blown away by the experience. Thanks to all. A performance we will NEVER forget!” -Terry Parkinson Hall
“Entranced by the amazing The Water Project (Immersive) tonight. Thank you, TheatreTruck and the amazing cast for an unforgettable experience!” -Lucy Abbot
“The fact that the rain started falling at the conclusion was like magic. Nature liked it so much it brought the symbolic flood.” -Mike Medeiros
“For me, the show worked on two key levels: first, the earnestness of the town characters held in contrast against the strangeness of the spaces and the non-town characters. The story of them being run down by forces greater than they could defend against felt palpable. Second, the museum grounds as a whole village of characters unto itself. I was especially down with the second floor, where the individual identity of each room was both compelling and elusive and songs/voices/music echoed around you from many spaces at once like a swirl of memories. ” -John Bechtold
“The performances…just wonderful…and important..” -Dale Reynolds
“My friends and I were transported magically last night when we attended the 8:30 showing of “The Water Project”. Right from our arrival when the wealthy Boston characters elegantly pointed to where we should park, and the candlelit walk to the room where that marvelous band was playing, we knew we were in for a very special treat. It was such a creative and different kind of performance, and on our way home, we were talking about how our confusion and feeling lost as we tried to figure out where to go after we were dropped off by our first actor outside the house, was very effective in giving us a sense of how lost and confused the people were when they were dealing with the prospect of losing everything when their towns were evacuated and drowned. The acting was very effective, both of the sadness and confusion of the people who had to leave their homes, and the manipulation, greediness, and falseness of the wealthy Boston people. The two last scenes really brought it all together for us, as we were already familiar with all the characters from our wanderings, and were part of the audience in the meeting house, understanding the intensity of the conflict and the feelings of the people. Which we shared! Then the last dance outside was so bittersweet, and it really hit us emotionally when they sang Auld Lang Syne.” -Jane Laskey
“What an intricate performance! And you summoned the rain, ha! So glad to have experienced it. Amazing work !” -Kaia Zimmerman
For over 75 years the Swift River Valley Historical Society in New Salem, Massachusetts, has kept alive the story of the villages and four “lost” towns of the Swift River Valley. In 1938 the people of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott—and several nearby villages—were forced to leave their homes, farms and businesses to allow the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir to provide clean water for the growing city of Boston to the east. No more straw hats would be made here, no sledding parties, celebrations on the town common, or worship at the churches built by the early settlers. The lives of 2500 people and their descendants were forever changed by this event.
Their towns are lost, but their stories are not. By caring for the objects and reminiscences once owned or told by farmers, shopkeepers, housewives, and children, the Swift River Valley Historical Society provides a look at life in the Swift River Valley before the Quabbin—and honors the sacrifice and sorrow of the many who once called it home.
Photo Credit: Quabbin Reservoir, courtesy of Dale Monette, DCR Vistitor Center