Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ray Bradbury's H2O at Fringe

Susan Turner and Kangagirl Productions is presenting H20, conceived and performed by David Lee. I went to a tech rehearsal to sketch. The production is centered around three Ray Bradbury short stories. The Lake had a young boy yearning for a moment alone by running along the shore. When truly alone, he began to miss Tally, perhaps his sister or a dear friend who he used to help build sand castles. At 12 years old she swam out into the lake, never to return. He built half a sand castle hoping she would return to build the rest.

In The Season of Calm Weather, George Smith and his wife were vacationing in France. He didn't mind the art of Caravaggio or the thick wormed yellows of a Van Gogh sunflower, but he truly loved the paintings of Pablo Picasso. He hoped to one day pay Picasso $5000, telling the artist "Give us the sea, the sand, that sky, or any old thing you want, we'll be happy." George took a walk along the beach and in the distance saw a tan old man drawing in the sand with a popsicle stick. He was drawing incredible figures. He was completely absorbed in his work drawing one figure and then another, and another. The sand flew as he sketched wildly. What appeared was free-running bacchanal, with satyrs, fauns, wine-dipped maidens, prancing unicorns, and piping youths dancing toward distant meadows, woodlands, ruined temples, and volcanoes.

The artist stopped and discovered George standing behind him. The artist shrugged his shoulders as if saying "Look what I've done; see what a child? Allow an old fool this, eh?" He wanted to run back to his room for a camera to capture the scene but there wasn't time, the sun was setting fast and the tide was coming in. He only had time to walk along the length of the creation to soak it all in before the sun slipped below the horizon.  Then, the tide came in, ironing the sand flat. I loved this story which was a reminder that nothing we create will last forever. However as artists, we can't help ourselves.

The third story was The Million Year Picnic, about a family trip to Mars. Blue lights on the edge of the stage created subtle ripple patterns on the ceiling and walls of the theater. This visual clue tied together the three stories, which each had the common element of water. The stories were at times haunting and foreboding about how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe. David did block out each scene by moving around the stage taking on the parts of each character in turn. His goal was to focus on the rich language of Bradbury. This created a staged reading where Ray Bradbury's mesmerizing phrasing could shine. It was raining hard while this rehearsal took place further emphasizing the theme of H2O as the storm pounded the theater roof. There was magic in every moment.

Ray Bradbury's H2O is in the Yellow venue in the Orlando Shakes,  812 E. Rollins St Orlando, Florida 32803. Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe button. The show runs 60 minutes.

The remaining show dates are:

7:30 PM
12:15 PM
8:30 PM
10:45 PM
7:15 PM

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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