Feminine play touches relevant issues


On April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Susquehanna’s theatre department premiered the play “The Memory of Water” in Degenstein Theater. Performances will also be held on April 29 and April 30 at 7:30 p.m. as well as a matinee on May 1 at 2:30 p.m.

“The Memory of Water” was written by playwright Shelagh Stephenson. It was chosen to be performed at Susquehanna by Aaron White, adjunct faculty theatre.

“It was a play that I’ve known for a long time. [The faculty] wanted a strong female cast,” he said. “There are four really wonderful parts for women in this play.”

“The Memory of Water” is about three sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine, who meet on the eve of their mother’s funeral. It deals with the strains on various family relationships.

Sophomore Marisa Cedeno, who plays Catherine, said, “The mom had her marriage that didn’t work out. Mary is having her issues with her boyfriend. Teresa is struggling with her husband. My boyfriend leaves me. It deals with relationships between people, between sisters, between lovers.”

First-year Kemah Armes plays Mike, a man having an affair with Mary. He said, “On one spectrum [Mike] can be seen as an awful human being, but also as one of the nicest people in the play.”

The main themes of the play revolve around memory.
“It’s a lot about the fact that memories are false and everyone has their own perception,” said Abby Dawes who plays the mother. “The three sisters are telling stories about their past and they all have a different perspective of the same memory.”

First-year Caitlin Barnes, who plays Mary, said, “It plays a lot with mother-daughter relationships and family dynamic.”

A few of the actors discussed the content of the play.

“I feel like people will look at the blurb and get afraid that it’s all this serious content, and there is a lot of serious content, but there are so many comedic moments,” Cedeno said.

Dawes added: “It’s a dark show that’s really light hearted.”

Armes said the audience would be able to relate to the play. “It’s nothing too out of the ordinary,” he said. “These are problems that people deal with yesterday and tomorrow and today.”

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An interesting aspect of the performance was how it was staged in-the-round, meaning the audience surrounded the stage from all sides with the actors in the middle.

“What’s interesting about being an audience member in-the-round is that everyone gets a different show,” Barnes said. “It’s really interesting how you can go see the show every night but get a different perspective every time.”

There were some challenges for the actors as they learned to perform the play in-the-round.

“The fact is that [the audience] can be right there to see our expressions,” Cedeno said. “We have to be in the moment. There are those funny moments where we all want to laugh, but can’t.”

There was a small cast of six actors for the performance.

“They are a tight-knit bunch,” White said. “It is a very funny play, but it is dealing with the death of a mother. You are dealing with things that are very personal. There is a lot of trust among [the cast].”

Tickets to “The Memory of Water” cost $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and non-Susquehanna students. Admission is free for Susquehanna students