Water, Water Everywhere…

Governors Island 404A Colonels Row, Manhattan

Find out whether this immersive experience is worth the ferry ride to Governors Island!

By Andrew Andrews

Fountain's (Vanessa Lynah) “Clean Water Saves Lives” vest epitomizes the theme of Exquisite Corpse Company's performance. Original photo by Al Rodriguez.

In Water, Water Everywhere, characters from the past, present and future interact with each other as they lead you around a house in Colonels Row on Governors Island. A storm chaser lives in a future when all of the world’s water has apparently flowed to the ocean, while twin children from the past want to help her stay hydrated. In the present, a Coast Guard family attempts to free their mother from a disassociative disorder by bringing her back to the house where they all experienced a trauma. Weaving through the threads is a supernatural entity that takes on human form to interact with the others.

As in many immersive performances, the audience is split into three groups, so participants will experience different parts of the story as the characters take them through different rooms in the abandoned, deteriorating house.

After enjoying Exquisite Corpse’s The Enchanted World of René Magritte a few years ago, we were excited to return for their latest production, and we were not disappointed. Although Water doesn’t employ the same fun, surrealist elements as Magritte, I found it more personally engaging, as the actors frequently addressed the audience directly, and on more than one occasion invited someone to perform some small task to contribute to the scene.

The characters were realistic, and although the premise of the future, world-wide water scarcity was a bit contradictory and difficult to believe, the time travel aspect and the character’s intensity at least made the experience entertaining. Meanwhile, the plight of the Coast Guard family was especially dramatic in that “I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes” kind of way. Depending on which path you’re assigned through the story, you might get more or less of either tale: it seemed my group experienced more of the storm chaser and supernatural entity, while the group my partner was in saw more of the family trauma unfolding.

I couldn’t tell you which thread the third group experienced most, but if I had the time, I’d be inclined to return for another performance to find out. Making the visit even more enjoyable is the fact that the crowds have effectively abandoned Governors Island until next summer, leaving it a bit more quiet and relaxing, like in the old days when the park was first opened to the public.

Andrew Andrews attended Water, Water Everywhere… at Governors Island 404A Colonels Row in Manhattan on Sunday, September 22, 2019 @ 2:00am to write this review.