Posted by: | Posted on: March 26, 2017

Northlight Theater presents
By Sharyn Rothstein
Directed by Cody Estle

March 16 – April 23, 2017

The cast of By the Water includes Janet Ulrich Brooks (Andrea Carter), Jordan Brown (Sal), Patrick Clear (Phillip Carter), Amanda Drinkall (Emily), Francis Guinan (Marty Murphy), Joel Reitsma (Brian) and Penny Slusher (Mary Murphy).

Synopsis: Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong home of Marty and Mary Murphy. But the storm has ripped apart more than just the walls: with their neighbors too devastated to stay, the couple’s beloved Staten Island community is in danger of disappearing forever. Determined to rebuild, Marty wages a campaign to save his neighborhood and his home, but when the Murphy’s’ sons arrive to help their parents dig out; past betrayals come rushing to the surface.

Brenda’s Review: By the Water touched me in so many ways that I couldn’t have ever imagined. I never experienced the devastation of a hurricane and I am forever grateful for that; however, I have a friend that have experienced going through a hurricane and the aftermath of such a horrific fate of destruction.

As I watched this play unfold so vividly with a stage set for demolition I started to hear my friend’s voice and the hurt in her tone as she told me about all of the sufferings she went through and how her family was the fortunate ones. After all, they had experienced I can hear her saying clearly, “How thankful they were to be alive!”

Although, I wasn’t physically there with my friend I did empathize with her because I could envision how scared she must have felt after losing so much and having to go through the aftermath of trying to rebuild her life after one of nature’s most catastrophic disasters.

By the Water brought the calamity of nature’s ruinous to life of what my friend had to go through as homes and lives were washed away. When devastation and destruction strike the Murphy family home in Staten Island it tore down the life that they built of lasting memories in a matter of minutes. Seeing this play was a reminder as to just how short life can really be and we are not the ones in control, contrary to what we might think.
This play served as a metaphor for the social and political change. It can shatter your beliefs and values and it can open up doors that were meant stay closed to one’s own personal life. When tragedy unearths so does other aspects of one’s life of past betrayals and hurt; what the Murphy’s thought was buried were resurrected to the surface with the rubbish.

Marty and Mary Murphy had to face the truth and decide not only on what they were going to do, stay in the community to rebuild or take a buy-out and leave. The Murphy’s also had to unite as a family and forgive one another for the pain that they caused one another over the years.

Again I say, I can’t imagine living in a neighborhood for generations and suddenly everything is empty, boarded up and dangerous. What I can say is “By the Water” gave us an in-depth, first look at how frightened and scary this horrific event can be as it takes human lives and so much more in a matter of minutes.

By the Water was directed with fierce compassion and poignant humor, with a sense of great comedic timing throughout the play. This play was very engaging and inspiring despite the circumstances, but what stayed true throughout was the family values and loyalties that emerged full-throated in the dialogue.

My overall takeaway of this powerful play “By the Water” was life is too short and you need to get your house in order!!

It’s a Must-See with a surprising plot!

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