An eerie play of murder, mystery, and…well…water
Author: Ethan Butterfield
Wow, just wow. I had the opportunity of seeing The Drowning Girls last Saturday, and let me tell you, it was really amazing. The way the music and the acting flowed together with the set was truly something to experience. Now, for those who don’t know, The Drowning Girls is a play based off of a true story about George Smith. George Smith lived during the 19th century, and he married and murdered his three wives by drowning them in a bathtub; George was later brought to justice after the similar cases were noticed and put together. From what I’m told, the case is still studied in law school today.
On Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege to talk to Judy Wensel, who played Margaret Lofty, one of the three murdered wives, in the production. I asked her a series of questions regarding the performance and the play itself. Here’s some of what she had to say.
So, Judy, how did you get into the character of Margaret? What was your method?
Judy Wensel: Well, it was interesting. I had to identify with the character and find out what her experiences were like when she was with George Smith, as did the other actors. It was about finding the sense of her.
How about the performance? Was there a favourite part of it that you did, or a certain scene you liked?
JW: I just really enjoyed the show as a whole, working with the water was a love/hate relationship, and it was a fulfilling experience to do this kind of show.
How was practicing and getting into the groove of things? I was very impressed with how accurate the cast was at making sure the water didn’t hit the audience all that much.
JW: Well, there were hard and simple days; we started working with water immediately. We eventually got comfortable with it, and there were no big problems. That was a happy accident, though, with where the water landed.
I just need to ask, was it uncomfortable wearing dry clothes over top of the wet ones?
JW: At first it was, but we got used to it pretty quick.
Would you continue to do plays based on actual events if you were given the chance?
JW: I think so. Especially doing plays like this in this day in age. It sheds some light on pretty dark content like violence against women, and to be part of a project that brings those issues forward is great.
Following those comments, I can safely say that everyone involved with the production of The Drowning Girls definitely knew how to put on a show. The set was very eerie, and it gave off an unsettling vibe that could give you chills. Scott Penner, who was the Set and Costume Designer for the production, brought the whole thing together really well, especially with the chandelier dangling above the bathtubs, which was very symbolic as it looked like water drops falling. The music, which was done by Gilles Zolty, added to that chill factor with a sort of “Moonlight Sonata” sounding tone: so elegant and yet so disturbing. To say the least, it was great and blew my expectations away.
The Drowning Girls is a show that everyone should take the time to check out. Beautifully acted, designed, and directed, it’s definitely something that’ll be talked about in the days to come. To make a quick note though, if you go to see it and end up sitting in the front row, there may be some waterworks.