Sweet Water Taste at the Horizon Theatre takes on controversial issues in a playful, comedic and thought provoking way.
What’s Sweet Water Taste from playright Gloria Bond Clunie about?
When a prominent black undertaker, Elijah Beckford, in North Carolina decides that he wants to be buried in “the family cemetery”, all hell breaks loose. For decades it has been known that the Beckford’s (one family is white and one family is black) are related but no one ever talks about it. That is, until one day, Elijah Beckford, decides that it is his right to be buried in the family cemetery. Clunie was inspired to write the play after reading about the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson.
Sweet Water Taste opens with Elijah Beckford just recovering from a near death experience. In fact, he actually sees an angel, but she tells him it isn’t his time just yet. The role is played by the same person who takes on the role of Elijah’s attorney daughter, Bianca.
The set of Sweet Water Taste
I’m always impressed with what small theatres can do with their sets. But this was really impressive. The play opens with a hospital scene (not too impressive) but they are able to take the viewers on a journey to heaven and then back down to the regal living room of the Beckford estate which is quite impressive. I took a peek at the stage and they even did a terrific job to replicate a paved walkway on the patio.
Why is it named Sweet Water Taste?
I don’t want to give too much away about this play, but Charlie Beckford tells Elijah about a little piece of dessert that his mother would put aside for herself each night. Made from well water, she referred to it as her “sweet water taste” and it was one thing that gave her a bit of pleasure. It is one of the times during the play that Charlie really lets down his guard and opens up to Elijah.
As the play develops, we learn that though the “white side” of the family hasn’t been spared hardships. They’ve suffered through tremendous loss, but still endeavor to be good people. In the end, does Elijah get buried in the family cemetery with the rest of his ancestors? Or does he lose his battle with cousin Charlie? The results are not at all what I or probably anyone in the audience expected but quite fitting!
Details about Sweet Water Taste
Sweet Water Taste will run July 12 – August 18, 2019 (Press Opening: July 12, 2019). Performances are Wednesday through Sunday (Wed-Fri at 8pm, Sat at 3pm & 8pm, Sun at 5pm). Tickets start at $30 for weekdays and $35 for weekends. More info about Sweet Water Taste is here.