For three long days, I thought about it, the title to Woody Allen’s
comedy-classic, Don’t Drink the Water, currently in production at Van
Wert Civic Theatre. I read the script twice, thinking to myself, “Did I
miss something?” No where in the script does it mention anything about
Could the title just be a simple idiom, a warning to those
traveling abroad? Let’s look at the premise for this production. At the
center of the action is Axel Magee (Mac King), son to Ambassador James
F. Magee (Steve Bricker). Axel has been left in charge of the embassy
while his father is away on business. Unfortunately (fortunately for
audience members), the Ambassador’s son “is the only man in the history
of the foreign service to accidentally wrap his lunch in a peace
Just moments after the Ambassador is out the door,
pandemonium ensues! An American tourist (Steve Lane), a caterer by
trade, his wife (Amber Evans) and his daughter (Jenna Brunk) rush into
the embassy two steps ahead of the Communist police who suspect them of
spying. With the assistance of Axel Magee and a Catholic Priest (who’s
also an amateur magician performed by Perry S. Luhn) the family
carefully plots their escape from the embassy and the clutches of
Apparently, the answer is yes; Don’t Drink the Water, premiering
March 13, has nothing to do with water or the consumption of it. But,
that didn’t stop me from doing some exhaustive googling concerning water
in attempt to relate the title to themes within the show.
someone to “not drink the water” when traveling brings up issues of
trust, a principal theme of Don’t Drink the Water. It’s about
relationships, the bonds between family members, between near-strangers.
Its about a mutual dependence between individuals to accomplish
something and in the process, becoming more than individuals. They
become a team (Democracy versus Communism. Spoiler alert: Democracy
Water acts in very much the same way. For millennia,
scientists considered water an element all on its own, but a water
molecule contains one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. These atoms
are bound together by shared electrons.
The natural water molecule
has a ‘V’ shape; in electrical terms, it is polar, meaning that one
side of the molecule carries a negative charge (the oxygen atom) and the
other side carries a positive charge (the hydrogen atoms). In this way,
a water molecule is somewhat like a magnet. But, it’s not enough for
this newly formed molecule of water to simply exist on its own. Because
of their natural polarity, water molecules attract one another and stick
together. Not only does hydrogen and oxygen want to share resources,
they want to work closely together.
The characters in VWCT’s
production of Don’t Drink the Water may not be as willing to work side
by side when facing adversity as our pals oxygen and hydrogen (i.e. the
blunders, buffoonery, and the ego trips which are a source of non-stop
laughs). Yet, once they learn about themselves, discover what each other
has to offer, they begin to understand that the only way to escape the
embassy without dying at the hands of the Communist police is to bond,
trust each other and work as a team.
Thankfully for our lives and
our survival, hydrogen and oxygen have been a team since just shortly
after the Big Bang. And even though Woody Allen may have never meant the
title of Don’t Drink the Water to be anything more than a reference to
the dangers of traveling in foreign lands, I think a little
understanding of how water works relates poignantly to the plot and the
importance of interdependence. Without each other, we are less likely to
succeed, let alone survive.
The completely volunteer cast of
Don’t Drink the Water has been working together and bonding for over a
month and is nearly ready to present a night of pure comedy from the
mind of the Woody Allen. Support the arts and community by joining us on
March 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, or 23.
The box-office opens to
the general public March 10. Call (419) 238-9689 between 2 and 6 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday to make your reservations. Tickets are $10. For
more information, visit http://vwct.org, “like” us on Facebook, and
“follow” us on Pinterest and Twitter.
Ice hope to sea you at the show and if you can think of some better water-related puns, let minnow.