Single Carrot's production of Foot of Water bursts with intensity but at the end of the performance of this original production, little more than energy remains.
Directed by Ben Hoover, this year-long work-in-progress explores human eroticism at its most primal. Inspired by the ritualistic techniques of Polish director Grotowski, the actors exhaust themselves in forcefully representing the most basic gestures of human sexuality. Curiosity, foreplay, and embraces pass in review as they lead up to a violent orgasm and brutal death of the lover. Centered on an earth-motherish Jessica Garrett, the energetic cast (Nathan Cooper, Alix Fenhagen, Nathan Fulton, Aldo Pantoja, Elliott Rauh) depicts a bolero of sexuality as it moves from sexuality as an innocent romp to the violence, nudity, and death of the conclusion. The mosaic of music and sounds chosen by sound designer Steven Krigel enhances this determined climb from the wistful to the murderous. This visceral presentation of sexual desire is not for the squeamish (or for the non-adult), but the power and conviction of the ensemble lends this creation its cascading energy.
And yet. For all its vitality and determination, Foot of Water doesn't quite manage to bring off its exploration of "the sociology of sex." The tale of a fertility-raining fountain in a village becomes tired in the telling. Much of the spoken text bears a similar banality. The physical gestures of carnal desire are forcefully portrayed, but where is the rest of human sexuality? Commitment, friendship, sacrifice, marriage, family---even children? For all of its visual brilliance, this is an oddly sterile take on sexuality. This rite of sexual awakening is very far from "the rituals we have all gone through or eventually go through in our personal sex histories" (director's note). The grunts remain; the romance and the promise have vanished.