A Body of Water
by Lee Blessing
Here lies he whose name was writ in water. –John Keats, his chosen epitaph
Lee Blessing's A Body of Water has a deceptively simple set-up: Moss and Avis, a handsome middle-aged couple, wake up in a beautiful house, surrounded by a lush lawn and a vast body of water. There's one big problem, though. The two of them have amnesia so perfect that they can't remember their own names. Their consequent pursuit of their identities yields no answers. Without memory, even the scrutiny of their naked bodies (one of the funniest moments in the play), is nudity to no purpose.
Moss and Avis are captives of their only visitor, Wren, a young woman who claims to know the truth. Wren torments them with conflicting accounts of their collective past. Are the elder pair a married couple who brutally killed their young child? Is Wren their weary lawyer, or a bitter daughter disfigured by her unmet need for love? Are Avis and Moss murderous, sick, psychotic, or dead? Compared to Wren's revelations, amnesia looks pretty good . . .
The only person to trust in A Body of Water is the playwright. And he's not telling. Blessing forces his characters, and us, into a terrifying vortex of doubt and dread unique to the loss of self. For what remains when thought and memory fail? Cruelty, isolation, yearning, powerlessness — and the inability to love.
Moss and Avis lie down with Beckett and wake up with Sartre, each and every day. By turns poignant, hilarious, baffling and truly frightening, A Body of Water will scare you to death. Don't miss it.
Cast: 1 M, 1 W, both middle aged. 1 W, 20s.
Scenes/Monologues: Monologues for Wren; scenework for the more mature actors.
Recommended by: Helen.
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“…a play rich in ideas about memory, identity, and fiction…[Blessing] lays down…a rich philosophical groundwork for the play’s intrigue…artfully presented…” —Variety. “…gets the audience talking…raises questions about what is true and whom to believe…intriguing stuff.” —LA Times. “…one of America’s greatest playwrights…satisfying, ninety-five minutes of existential hide-and-seek.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press. “…the work of a mature master dramatist in complete control of his materials.” —San Diego Union-Tribune.
THE STORY: Moss and Avis, an attractive, middle-aged couple, wake up one morning in an isolated summer house high above a picturesque body of water. The weather’s fine; the view’s magnificent. There’s only one problem—neither of them can remember who they are. When a young woman named Wren arrives, information starts to flood in. But will it help? Her explanations seem only to make Moss and Avis’ world—as well as ours—more terrifying.