Stanford alums create performance piece on the California drought

Pray For Rain
(Photo credit: ©2015 S.C. Lowe)

Two Stanford alums and an undergraduate walk into a bar…  Actually, they aren’t in a bar; they are on stage putting on a show about the California drought. So no drinks, but there is plenty of talk of being parched.

The alumnae are MARI AMEND and DORIA CHARLSON, both of the Class of ’13, who spent the last year interviewing and photographing people across California about their experiences in the current drought and about their relationship to the state’s disappearing water resources. They talked to farmers, politicians and climate experts about the water system and geographical differences within the state. The results are captured in Dry-5: Stories from the California Drought, a multimedia storytelling project that transforms firsthand accounts of people affected by the drought into a performance piece. It premieres at San Francisco’s Stage Werx Aug. 21-22 followed by a matinee at Omni Commons in Oakland Aug. 23.

Writer/director Amend, choreographer Charlson and photographer CAMBRIA LOWE combine monologues, movement, audio recordings and photography to tell the stories of the complicated effects of the drought and engage audiences with the impact of climate change through art.

“By connecting seemingly disparate communities through storytelling, we hope to create a model for other communities to think outside of the box about how to inspire community action,” Amend said. “We believe that building community at this scale will be absolutely necessary for global citizens to come together to counteract climate change.”

Charlson enlisted her younger sister MEREDITH CHARLSON into the stage manager role. Meredith is a senior pursuing a degree in comparative literature with a minor in theater and performance studies.

“I performed in Doria and Mari’s previous collaboration, M2: From Terminus to Terminus, and am so excited to work with them again,” Meredith Charlson said.