"The Ripple, the Wave that Carried Me Home" stuffs its brisk 95 minutes with a ton of drama. Racism, segregation, father-daughter relationship issues, and on and on. What's most striking, however, is that all these disparate things take place against the backdrop of a public pool, literally and figuratively: the set is a public pool, and remains so throughout the entire play. While watching the play, I made a mental-note to praise the projections on the pool walls, but not all it was projection. (There's a conversation that happens on the wall where most of the projections are shown, but that would have to be a very well synchronized video, and I don't think it is. I couldn't figure out how they did it.)
Also was the fact that the play is set in the not-so-distant past. The first moves toward desegregating the pools began in 1957, and I'm thinking, "OK, my father was a toddler then." While not a very long time, I felt it was long enough to predict, "they'll fix it fairly quickly." A disturbing--not totally specified--incident, stemming from desegregation efforts, is said to have occurred in 1979, 5 years prior to my birth. That hit harder than I was expecting.
"The Ripple, the Wave that carried me home" is a superb play. One I am glad I saw, not just for the action on stage, but for the jolt it gave me when I realized that we haven't moved as far--or as quickly--as I thought we had. The whole country might benefit from that jolt.
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