Theater Review

Fort Lauderdale’s Thinking Cap plunges into the challenge of ‘pool (no water)’

The cast of Thinking Cap Theatre’s ‘pool (no water)’ probes what it means to be an artist at Fort Lauderdale’s Muse Center for the Arts.
The cast of Thinking Cap Theatre’s ‘pool (no water)’ probes what it means to be an artist at Fort Lauderdale’s Muse Center for the Arts.
Nicole Stodard

If you go

What: ‘pool (no water)’ by Mark Ravenhill.

Where: Thinking Cap Theatre production at the Muse Center for the Arts, 99 SW 14th St., Fort Lauderdale.

When: 7 and 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, through March 8.

Cost: $25 ($10 students).

Information: 813-220-1546 or

Mark Ravenhill’s pool (no water) is the sort of play that isn’t often produced in South Florida, a place where conventional theater forms rule.

But Fort Lauderdale’s Thinking Cap Theatre and founder-artistic director Nicole Stodard are all about risk-taking and artistic challenges. So the fact that Thinking Cap is launching its 2014 season with pool (no water) is impressive — the play is quite challenging for a director, actors and audiences — but hardly a surprise.

Like Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis (produced locally by The Naked Stage in 2008), the script for pool (no water) serves as a road map, a jumping-off point for a director’s creativity. A kind of long monologue for multiple actors, it doesn’t assign lines to characters. The play has been performed by as few as four actors and as many as 15. Thinking Cap’s new production in a dance studio at the Muse Center for the Arts features a cast of seven.

Best known in the United States for his controversial hit Shopping and F**king, the British Ravenhill turns his attention to art, artists and envy in pool (no water). The play focuses on a group of artists who met and became friends at school. Two are gone: Ray, who lost his life to AIDS, and Sally, whose death from breast cancer is depicted in the play.

One of the artists, though, has made it big — very big. Winning acclaim and acquiring wealth from work that incorporated vivid evidence from the dying Ray’s final days, she is living large in Los Angeles, in a house with a staff and an inviting pool. When their famous pal suggests a reunion at her home, her still-struggling friends head west, only to plunge into a metaphorical pool of rampaging envy.

The aftermath of a terrible accident proves revelatory and irresistible. Exploitation makes for a series of not-so-pretty but potentially lucrative and reputation-making pictures. But when the accident victim appears ready to appropriate the evidence of her suffering, that roiling green envy on the part of her “friends” surges, turning into a destructive statement about the character-challenged artists.

Thinking Cap’s actors — Miles Alexander, Hannah Citrin, Casey Dressler, Niki Fridh, Noah Levine, Desiree Mora and Scott Douglas Wilson — have their own challenges, as no one is playing a single character with a clear arc. They speak individually, briefly inhabit a character, shift into another one, recite certain lines in unison.

While the hour-long story is specific, its telling is fluid and abstract, requiring more from the actors and a concentrating audience. This is an ensemble piece, but you will notice and appreciate particularly vivid moments created by Wilson, Levine and Fridh.

Certainly, pool (no water) isn’t every theatergoer’s cup of tea. But those intrigued by boundary-stretching, intellectually provocative drama may find themselves intrigued by Stodard’s solution to Ravenhill’s puzzle.

Read more Performing Arts stories from the Miami Herald

  • classical music

    Classical review: Dranoff Foundation does another enterprising two-piano program

    The Dranoff Foundation’s enterprising concert programs have admirably highlighted rarely heard two-piano repertoire, and Saturday night's “Jazz Squared” concert at the South Miami Dade Cultural Center in Cutler Bay was no exception. Duo Stephanie and Saar traversed a menu of jazz-infused works with fine technique and musicality. Still, it’s clear that the husband-and-wife team of Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia are classicists at heart, and their strongest performances were in music of Chopin and Beethoven.

  • classical music

    Classical review: New World Symphony does a lively 18 Musicians by Reich

    The New World Symphony’s Percussion Consort presented American composer Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians Saturday night, attracting a festive, all-ages crowd for this one-hour, high-energy show.

Miami based artist Juana Meneses, left, and Leila Leder Kremer are the creators of “Home "HOME: BEYOND GEOGRAPHY", which is a participatory writing art project which shares personal histories and memories of South Florida on Thursday April 10, 2014

    O, Miami Poetry Festival

    ‘Home: Beyond Geography’ explores immigrants’ stories about coming to Miami

    Two visual artists are asking immigrants to share their experiences about coming to Miami by taking part in a participatory writing project that in part explores the concept of identity.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category