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 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 or by phoning (800) 838-3006. For more information about Lake Water, visit or

Photos by Hunter Canning

Time Out review of The Play About my Dad!

FATHER TIME Greenfield, middle, takes a trip with Potter and mother Tracey Gilbert.

Photograph: Chantel C. Lucier

Memory speaks volumes in Boo Killebrew’s meta meditation on wasted time and bad weather.

“You know what we can thank storms for?” asks the elderly Essie Watson (Geany Masai) of a courteous man who has come to board up her windows against the oncoming wind and rain. “Really great stories.” And that is what the up-and-coming CollaborationTowncompany delivers, too, in Boo Killebrew’s moving and imaginatively generous The Play About My Dad. The man in Essie’s house is Larry Killebrew (Jay Potter, wonderfully natural), the playwright’s father and, in 2005, a doctor in Gulfport, Mississippi; the tempest in question was Hurricane Katrina, which took many lives there; and the play is a memory piece in which an actor, Anna Greenfield, embodies the playwright herself, testing out the script as it goes along. Memory, storytelling, playwriting and time travel intersect with a lovely kind of epic intimacy.

The plot’s core elements—the storm and the playwright’s stormy relationship with the man who abandoned her years before—could tip into the maudlin as easily as Killebrew’s Well-ish metatheatrical conceit could tip into the arch. But these risks balance each other beautifully; as the play tells its multiple stories—including those of a family trapped on the roof of its flooded home, and two EMTs (TJ Witham and the excellent Jordan Mahome) in an ambulance—its alternations of scale give it an elegant restraint in the face of tragedy. (There are key moments of silence in which the characters simply stare off at a looming force offstage, indescribable in its menace.) Some of the production may initially seem broad in 59E59’s tiny Theater C, but as directed by Lee Sunday Evans, The Play About My Dad gradually takes you into its spell. Don’t be surprised if, by the end, your own emotional floodgates have been tested.

By Adam Feldman

For more including ticket info visit 59e59

River to River 2011~

Dorit is currently working as Associate Producer for 2011’s premiere downtown Music and Arts festival!

Brought to you by LMCC (lower Manhattan Cultural Council) and curated by Culturebot‘s Andy Horwitz, River to River is in its 10th year! This festival brings free performance art, games, theater, and music to NYers at venues throughout downtown Manhattan, don’t miss it!

Be sure to check for upcoming shows, and artist information –

Hope you’re having a great summer!

Play About My Dad at 59E59

Don’t miss Amanda’s current project!

The Play About My Dad is a look at Larry Killebrew through the eyes of his playwright daughter Boo. His words, his family, his job as an emergency room surgeon, his community of Gulfport, Mississippi – and Hurricane Katrina, which almost turned Gulfport into a coral reef. As Larry tries acting, and Boo adds new scenes, they discover how hard it is to tell the story the true way.

59E59 Theaters

59 East 59th Street,  Between Park & Madison

June 16 – July 2


tuesday, wednesday, & thursday@ 7:30 p.m.

friday & saturday @ 8:30 p.m.

 sunday @ 3:30 p.m.

Tickets: $18

use code: MYDAD12 for $12

Buy Tickets Here!

Featuring: Tracey Gilbert*, Anna Greenfield, Annie Henk*, Jordan Mahome*, Geany Masai*, Jay Potter*, David Rosenblatt, Juan Francisco Villa*, and TJ Witham

*actors appearing courtesy of
Actor’s Equity Association

by Boo Killebrew

directed by Lee Sunday Evans 

associate direction by Jack Nicolaus 

a Neighborhood Production