The Ko Festival of Performance is teaming up with Serious Play Theatre Ensemble for the live and digital premieres of “Moving Water.” Devised by Serious Play and written by Eric Henry Sanders, the piece is a multi-media physical theater piece centering on climate change, the global water crisis, and our human relationship to water.

Upon entering the brand-new Workroom Performance Space in the new arts center at 33 Hawley Street, in Northampton, MA, ticket-holders will be met by visual artist Roz Driscoll and her team, who will perform a hand-washing ritual that will invoke the relationship that all beings have to that most vital of elements, water.

As they take their seats in this large airy space with an industrial feel, attendees will find themselves immersed in an evocative visual environment and soundscape. Under the direction of Sheryl Stoodley, Serious Play’s Artistic Director, composer Jonny Rodgers, sound designer Robin Doty, and lighting designer Sabrina Hamilton have dreamed up a world that uses complex live video projections, glass harp, Playtronica, a new electronic sound sensor technology, and many other theatrical devices to create the environment that holds this play about how climate change and water fragility shape our human interactions.

The production features performers Kermit Dunkelberg, Ximena Salmerón, and Will Swyers, who play 3 apartment dwellers thrown together in an existential struggle hinging on their personal stances on climate change and a developing water crisis. Zara, Pakistani immigrant and friend to Sergei, the building’s super, is missing. They’ve been designing a secret project to save their building from an impending flood. Luna, a Mexican oceanographic student and Drew, a climate change denier and son of the building’s owner, are quickly embroiled in the search.

The production can be watched in two different ways: live and online. Live performances, with limited seating, are Thursday through Saturday, July 22-24 at 8pm and Sunday, July 25 at 4pm in the Workroom Space, run by APE @ Hawley, at 33 Hawley St. in Northampton, MA. The audience size is limited and advance ticket purchase at kofest.com is required. There will be a live conversation about the artistic process with the ensemble after the Sunday performance.

Northampton Open Media will be recording the live performances, which will be edited and captioned for online viewing Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31 at 8pm and Sunday, August 1 at 4pm. Trenda Loftin will moderate real-time, post-show discussions with the team and guest experts — with audience participation via Vimeo’s chat function.

All tickets should be purchased in advance online at kofest.com.  Tickets are $30 Patron Price, $20 Standard Price, and a $10 Discounted Price, for those with SNAP/EBT cards, on Unemployment or with income affected by Covid-19.

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble’s work on “Moving Water” is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Northampton Arts Council, a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Scarlet Sock Foundation; and Art Angels. Sponsors include: David Martula CFP(R), Alyssa F. Wright Consulting, Whalen Insurance, and Bartlett M. Doty.

Ko is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Artis Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts. We receive additional support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; a state agency; the Amherst & Pelham Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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