Now on stage at the Gateway Theatre in Richmond, The Watershed is an interesting and topical piece of documentary theatre.
Originally commissioned for the Arts and Culture program of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Annabel Soutar’s The Watershed followers her and her family on an exploration of the Nation’s precarious fresh water supply.
Although the play was first performed in 2015 with material documented in the years prior, the conflict between science, news, arts, ideology and politics continues to be a topic of discussion. While researching and preparing The Watershed, Ms Soutar recorded every bit of dialogue between her, her family and subjects. These recordings along with quotes from news clips, speeches and public forums form the script of the docu-play.
The play’s two acts follow the two segments of the research process. First the audience follows Annabel, husband Alex and daughters as they set out to research Canada’s fresh water supply, and see the strongest story of the documentary evolve. Act two follows the family on a cross-Canada Winnebago trip to explore the country and learn about their topics first hand.
While the subject is politically charged and controversial the play maintains a balance to show characters from all sides of the story and not get too ‘preachy’ when delivering the message.
While the 2 hour and 45 minute play (incl intermission) is long, it doesn’t drag. The pacing and mix of humour and drama keep the story moving.
The Watershed runs at Gateway Theatre until April 15th.