WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The Good Swimmer, part requiem, part lifesaving drill, is a new music-theatre piece by Heidi Rodewald (music) and Donna Di Novelli (libretto) directed by Kevin Newbury. Set entirely on a surf beach, the piece updates the kinship relationships of Antigone to a family of lifeguards during the early days of the Vietnam War. The pop musical rips apart non-literary 'found' texts (field guides, historical quotations, lifesaving manuals) to create song lyrics for four principals, a chorus of lifeguards, and a rock band. The Good Swimmer pits the 'common good' against the primacy of kinship as a sister opposes a monument to be built in her beloved brother's memory. All the singers onstage are under 21 years of age, reflecting the somber truth that a majority of those lost in Vietnam would never reach their 22nd birthday.