A young inventor has created an engine that runs on water. When he tries to patent his invention, he discovers there are forces in the world that don’t want it to happen.
This is the story of David Mamet’s play “The Water Engine,” which is presented by The Oasis Theatre Company at Teatro Paraguas’ Calle Marie performance space from February 8 through 25.
“We produced the play in New York in the 1990s, and I was in it,” says Brenda Lynn Bynum, who directs the show. “There are up to 50 characters played by six actors and one voice-over actor. Even though the play takes place in the 1930s, so much of what Mamet wrote is still relevant today.”
“The Water Engine” was originally written as a radio play for National Public Radio and first staged in 1977 by St. Nicholas Theater Company in Chicago. Bynum stages it as a combination of a radio play and a theatrical play, with a radio station in the back of the stage and a live theater in the front.
Actors are dressed in period costumes, compliments of the massive wardrobe that Oasis brought to Santa Fe when the company moved to town from New York last summer.
“While we were looking online, we found and bought a reproduction of a 1930s pay phone that actually works,” Bynum adds. “The phone is an important part of this play.”
Starring in the show are Nicholas Ballas, D. David, James Jenner, Matthew Montoya, Talia Pura, Tallis Rose and Karen Gruber Ryan. Many of these actors have worked with each other in other productions in town.
“Because they’ve worked together, what I immediately had was a built-in ensemble quality in the cast,” says Bynum. “That’s such an advantage for this play since it’s definitely an ensemble piece.”
“The Water Engine” is one of two plays presented by The Oasis Theatre Company this winter/spring. Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor” takes place at Teatro Paraguas in March.