The Breach tells three different stories of people impacted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a storm which killed more than 1,600 people, caused by a “breach” in the levee. “This powerful and surreal play taps the conspiracy theories, loss and nascent hope of this devastated American region.”
The play begins with a family of three stranded on their rooftop. Severance (Sev), played by Hubert Point-Du Jour, is strongly protective of his grandfather, Pere Leon played by William Hall, Jr. and Sev’s little sister. Slowly and discreetly throughout the play Sev reveals his own secret of being gay to his weakening yet strong willed grandfather.
Mac, played by John Aylward, is a foul mouthed, wheelchair bound bartender who is quickly taken by surprise from the floodwater. The flood transforms into a mythical goddess “Water” with a haunting voice, played wonderfully by Nike Imoru, who seductively tries to entice Mac into his watery grave. The writers loosely tie in references to the Iraq War by including Mac’s son Francis, played by Kelly Conway, who is serving in Iraq.
John Aylward gives the most amazing performance in the play in portraying two very different characters. He transitions seamlessly from the foul mouthed bartender Mac to a conservative newspaper editor. His role as Mac also requires him to jump and leap into large bodies of water on stage and, in so doing, has in reality injured his foot which is cleverly disguised throughout the play. What this means is that Aylward’s understudy may need to eventually take over the role of Mac.
In the third story, New York newswriter and self described blogger Lynch, played by Michael Braun, attempts to badger out information from a local resident Aunt Sis, played by Michele Shay, about a government conspiracy that the levee was purposely blown up.
Visually the entire length of the front of the stage is a pool of water 42′ long. For me the visuals on the stage alone, of the falling rain and pools of water, were mesmerizing which included over 6000 gallons of water with a weight of 52,500 lbs.
I strongly recommend not missing a rare opportunity see this production of The Breach and bear witness to an important event in American history, running through February 9, 2008 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre.