By Bob Evans
In Lewis J. Morrow’s new play, currently entered in the KC Fringe Festival “Be Like Water,” focuses on life after deployment, struggles with home-life and military-life before, during and after military separations.
Morrow’s piece suggests that life works like a river. A river is at its mouth, its flowing body, and its source all at the same time. Similarly, a person’s life reflects everything from birth (its source) to their present (the flowing body), and moving toward its destination. “Be Like Water” focuses on one sergeant who returns from a hostile war deployment and looks to find peace in the world he re-entered when he returns home. Likewise, a female lieutenant he shared intimate time with faces similar domestic struggles.
To make matters worse, over the last deployment, the sergeant’s parents died while the lieutenant’s boyfriend has become romantically entwined with another woman who helps him take care of his child (the lieutenant’s daughter). Like life, the show presents conflicting situations, all entangled through life’s twists and turns. Nothing is easy. All conflict resolution needs a target to move toward. However, as life changes like the flowing body of a river, decisions have consequences–and sometimes unintended hurt, separation, and pain.
Morrow’s works always feature strong dialogue and each word fits the character and moves the play forward. As a reviewer, I listened carefully to his dialogue and thought I had found something that did not fit quite right. Then, about 30 seconds later, the pieces fell in place and what I questioned was necessary for the following lines. Morrow calculates his lines and the characters he develops. His writing continues to gain strength and his characters all show levels of depth and change.
According the Fringe website: “Groves and Suggs were soldiers; trained to adapt to any situation, and they did, including the five years they spent together in captivity. Now rescued, Groves must re-adapt to her family life and Suggs, a celebrated hero, must adapt to his recent fame. Two years have passed and they haven’t seen nor spoken to each other since. Yet, today they’ve agreed to meet. Without skipping a beat they begin to relive what they tried so hard to escape and the truth is perhaps this time they can’t adapt.”
The cast was: Karis Harrington as Alex Groves, Lewis J. Morrow as James Suggs, Robert Coppage as Chris Groves, Brandie Armstrong as the Waitress/Psychologist/Girlfriend, Dennis Jackson as Pops. The show was directed by Nick Hazel.
“Be Like Water” continues at Musical Theater Heritage Stage 2. Advance tickets can be purchased through the KC Fringe website.
Tags: KC Fringe Festival, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, “Be Like Water”, Musical Theater Heritage Stage 2, MTH Stage 2