Lake Water, a Tale of Small-Town Suicide, Opens Sept. 22 With Troy Deutsch, Samantha Soule
By Kenneth Jones
22 Sep 2011 A teen’s suicide in a small town prompts the action of Troy Deutsch’s play Lake Water, getting its world premiere in an Off-Off-Broadway production at IRT Theatre in Greenwich Village. Opening night is Sept. 22, following previews from Sept. 17.
Neighborhood Productions presents the drama, directed by Daniel Talbott.
Writer Deutsch (a standby for John Gallagher Jr. in Broadway’s Rabbit Hole) and Samantha Soule (Broadway’s Coram Boy, The Philanthropist, Dinner at Eight, Off-Broadway’s Gabriel) appear in the two-hander.
Lake Water focuses on Iris and James, two small-town high school seniors who become estranged after their best friend suddenly commits suicide. On one “crapping pathetic Friday night,” James calls Iris, “and she meets him on the dock where the two untangle the painful events of their pasts, address their blossoming sexualities, and struggle to face the limits of their lives.”
IRT Theatre is at 154 Christopher Street in Manhattan. Performances play to Oct. 2.
Deutsch offered Playbill.com some thoughts about the genesis of Lake Water. “I grew up in New Prague, Minnesota, a small rural farming community on the outskirts of Minneapolis,” he said. “It is a beautiful, peaceful town, but I found the experience of growing up there to be, at times, terribly lonely and isolating, as it is for many teenagers who feel ‘different’ or are questioning their sexuality, as I once was.
“On a visit home a few years ago, I found a poem my little sister Greta had written for a high school writing assignment about all of the young people committing suicide or dying in accidents in our [one-stoplight] town. My sister doesn’t claim to be a writer, but her poem impacted me deeply:
Are we being haunted?
Is there a burden on our small town?
Why are there so many deaths of all these innocent people?
Are there hidden predicaments?
Or are we under a curse? Or spell? Or jinx? Or plague?
Is there something eerie about New Prague that makes young people surrender?
Why are we wiping away all of our tears?
When will this horror expire?”
Deutsch added, “I was grateful to my sister for her poem, for giving voice to something that had been swirling inside my head for years. Then she told me about a few of the local teen suicides that had occurred since I left town. These stories, compounded by my sister’s poem, and my own experience of growing up isolated and questioning my sexuality, inspired me to finally start writing the play.
“Lake Water is a deeply personal play for me. And with the rash of teen suicides in the news, especially amongst isolated LGBT youth, I think the story of Lake Water feels particularly timely and urgently needed. …I hope young people will come see Lake Water and take a message of hope away from the theatre. …I think the theatre is a great place to start a dialogue and bring about change. I can’t wait to share the play with an audience.”
Deutsch’s play Pussycat was produced by the University of Utah (Kennedy Center ACTF regional finalist). Lake Water was developed at The New Group (New Group/New Works Reading Series).
Director Talbott’s most recent work as a director includes Much Ado About Nothing (Boomerang), Squealer (Lesser America at Theater for the New City), The Umbrella Plays (the teacup company/FringeNYC – Overall Excellence Award: Outstanding Play and at The Tank), Keep Your Baggage With You (at all times) (Theater for the New City) and more.
The creative team includes set designer Eugenia Furneaux-Arends; costume designer Tristan Raines; lighting designer Brad Peterson; sound designer Janie Bullard; production stage manager Hannah Woodward; assistant director Ashley Monroe. Amanda Feldman of Neighborhood Productions is line producer.
Neighborhood Productions is the theatrical production company of Dorit Avganim and Amanda Feldman.
Lake Water plays the following schedule at IRT Theatre: Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM.
Tickets are $18 and may be purchased by visiting http://www.brownpapertickets.com or by phoning (800) 838-3006. For more information about Lake Water, visit http://www.neighborhoodproductions.org or http://www.irttheater.org/developing/lake-water.
Photos by Hunter Canning