On June 5-30, Works on Water took over 3LD Art + Technology Center in downtown Manhattan. Art, theater, and science come together for a unique multidisciplinary exploration of water and climate change. Producer Rachel Karpf shares three of her favorite moments from the process of making such a massive event:

Works on Water has been a project like none other in its ambition and scope. Guerilla Science have partnered with Works on Water organizers — theater company New Georges and artist curatorial team Urban Water Makers — to collaborate on the premiere of
[1] the new play (NOT) WATER (read the NYTimes Preview HERE)
[2] create installations with our trademark brand of subversive play, and
[3] infuse a series of interdisciplinary conversations with science.

We’re at well over 80 collaborators to fill 3LD with an entire month of activities and it is a TRUE collaboration: we had writers, visual artists, actors, scientists and production crew all working together to make a massive calendar of events! It’s a new and exciting way of working for Guerilla Science, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.

If you’ve joined us in person or seen snippets on social media, here are three of my favorite moments from the making-of Works on Water:

The cast and crew of (NOT) WATER.

Water “flows” across scientific disciplines!

To help playwright Sheila Callaghan better understand what kinds of water-related stresses exist today across the globe, and how scientists think about them, I went to the source! I spent weeks interviewing scientists from a variety of disciplines: from paleontologists who study tree rings to understand the history of droughts, to urban-focused environmental scientists who make models to understand what storms might overflow NYC’s sewers. I’ve loved learning about the details of so many different kinds of water-related studies, and putting together common threads to share with the creative team.

Putting science into the rehearsal room

Seeing how the cast and creative team of the play have responded to these scientists’ work has been really amazing. I loved how strongly the rehearsal room team responded to Dr. Colin Kelley’s groundbreaking paper that showed a link between anthropogenic climate change, the mid-2000’s drought in Syria, and the subsequent civil unrest there. Hearing that geopolitical unrest can be one outcome at stake from human-influenced climate change helped us better define the play’s dramatic stakes, and the pressure on different characters at different moments.

Unexpected encounters!

Outside the rehearsal room, I’ve been working for months with the incredible video artist Marianna de Nadal to make a VERY different kind of video installation — in a place you wouldn’t expect. It’s all about the impact of climate change on different geographies around the globe, and we were excited to see how people responded to it.


We hope Works on Water continues to spark conversations next time you take another sip.