The Water Engine

In The Water Engine, actors, an announcer, and a sound effects man present a radio play during the 1930s with unerring authenticity. The “play within the play” reveals the story of a young inventor who’s found a way to run an engine on distilled water.

Play title:  The Water Engine

Author (s):  David Mamet

Publisher: Samuel French

Publication Date: 1977

Genre: Drama

Primary Discipline: Technology

Scientist (s): Fictional

Source Texts: Unknown

Character Breakdown: 6 Men, 2 Women

Charles Lang, Rita, Morton Gross, Lawrence Oberman, Mrs. Varec, Mr. Wallace, Bernie, Dave Murray

Setting: Radio Station

Time Period: 1934

Synopsis of Play: In The Water Engine, actors, an announcer, and a sound effects man present a radio play during the 1930s with unerring authenticity. The “play within the play” reveals the story of a young inventor who’s found a way to run an engine on distilled water. At first ridiculed, he is courted by crooked lawyers attempting to buy the invention from him on behalf of “certain business interests.” After refusing, he is threatened, and when he attempts to give his story to the newspapers, he is murdered along with his sister. The engine is destroyed, but the inventor has mailed the blueprint to a young student scientist who will configure and reveal the invention to the world. (play text cover blurb, Samuel French)

First Performance Date: May 11th, 1977

First Producer: St. Nicholas Theater Company

Performance History: The Water Engine was first written as a radio play for Earplay, for National Public Radio. The stage version was first produced by the St. Nicholas Theater Company, Chicago, Illinois, May 11th, 1977. The production was directed by Steven Schachter; set by David Emmons; lighting by Kathleen Daly; original music composed and performed by Alaric Jans. The New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre production of The Water Engine opened on January 5th, 1978, in New York City. This production was directed by Steven Schachter; set by John Lee Beatty; lighting by Dennis Parichy; original music composed and performed by Alaric Jans; produced by Joseph Papp; associate producer, Bernard Gersten. The Water Engine opened at the Plymouth Theatre on Broadway on March 6th, 1978, New York City.

Entered by: Meaghan Yesford

Links: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-water-engine/Content?oid=882020

http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/theater/reviews/1367/

http://www.curtainup.com/waterengine.html

http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/mrhappiness-rev

https://www.nytimes.com/1977/05/14/archives/chicago-sees-mamets-water-engine.html

https://variety.com/1992/tv/reviews/tnt-screenworks-the-water-engine-1200430490/

https://www.bradenton.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article34748838.html

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-06-12/entertainment/9306120009_1_water-engine-radio-fable

http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2010/11/09/the-water-engine-an-american-fable-review-theatre-seven-chicago/

https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/reviews/mr-happiness-the-water-engine-double-bill

Photo/Visual Research with citations           

                                        

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training,                              FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training,

Photo: Frank Atura                                                                         Photo: Frank Atura

                           

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training,                            2010, Theatre Seven

Photo: Frank Atura   

                           

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training,                            2005, Theatre 503

Photo: Frank Atura   

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