Do you know where your drinking water comes from? In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) would like to educate you with its lively, humorous, and interactive production Beneath the Surface. With song and prose, the production is a joyful and bubbly celebration of water.
Beneath the Surface, presented through March 16 by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, 1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. For tickets ($17), see hobt.org.
Beneath the Surface is the second episode of HOBT’s trilogy Invigorate the Common Well. Episode 1, Come to the Well, was presented a year ago, and Episode 3, Decorate the Well in Gratitude, will be performed later this year.
The concept of a water series sprung from the dilemma of the broken drinking water fountain in the theater’s lobby, explained Sandy Spieler, HOBT’s Artistic Director. The broken fountain forced HOBT to investigate their plumbing infrastructure.
Spieler and her colleagues then conceived of creating a performance to introduce children to the life cycle of water—from its source to its uses to the dangers of pollutants to the hope of conservation. HOBT practices what it teaches, and since their water fountain is still broken, they fill large reusable glass bottles with water from the tap and offer it to thirsty theatergoers in reusable aluminum mugs.
Beneath the Surface promotes an awareness of the Mississippi River as the source of our water supply, and the production showers the Minneapolis Water Works with accolades for its high-quality water system. Companies selling bottled water, on the other hand, are doused with criticism for their contribution to landfills.
Spieler has a great deal of input in this production—besides creating the concept, she designed the sets and served as director—and her passion for water is clear. “Beneath the Surface,” she writes in the play’s program, “is an initiative to inspire gratitude for water and to encourage the collective power of individuals to enact positive change.”
The production concludes with an invitation to the audience to join the cast in informal small group discussions bringing attention to water as a common good. Displays in the lobby include a rap video enlightening theatergoers about water as a gift of life.
Jennifer Holder (firstname.lastname@example.org) contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.