The Echo Theater Company's Production of 'Dry Land' Sure to Make a Splash at the Atwater Village Theater

Ruby Rae Spiegel’s play is set to make its West Coast Premiere

Ester and Amy are treading treacherous waters. The two high school swimmers are looking for companionship and respite in The Echo Theater Company's production of "Dry Land" by Ruby Rae Spiegel opening on April 9.

"Dry Land" confronts many issues of the here and now: women's reproductive rights, sexual orientation exploration and discovery, the pressure on high school students to perform well, and the ruthless dynamics of the high school social scene. Originally inspired by a 2012 New Republic article entitled "The Rise of DIY Abortions" which details common methods of "do-it-yourself" abortions and the legality of such abortions, this play dives right into the heart of a controversial subject that is all too often pushed under the rug.

I sat down with Alana Dietze, the director of "Dry Land" and the literary manager of The Echo Theater Company, to discuss her experience working on Ruby Rae Spiegel's play. "I think [the play] confronts a lot of issues that are really present in this moment," she says. Just last month, the New York Times featured an article called 'The Return of DIY Abortions.' The article presents statistics concerning the recent rise in Google searches about ways in which to induce a miscarriage or self-abort as opposed to undergoing a medical procedure. "A lot of it has to do with access, and places in the middle of the country and in the south where there are very few abortion clinics. More often, women are having to turn to alternative means. So, in that way [the play] is very relevant—but that said, I don't think of it as an issue play. I think it deals with big issues, but it deals with them personally. It's really a play about this friendship."

When she first read "Dry Land," Dietze knew the play was right for The Echo Theater Company. "Well, my taste is mostly based on my heart, so I read the play, and I fell in love with it and it broke my heart— and that's why I wanted to do it," she says. "The writing is so truthful and delicate."

"I really think young women should see this play," Dietze says. "I really think it's important for young women to have examples of themselves in the storytelling— examples that are complex and dark and scary, and I think this play does that very well."

As preview performances and opening night approach, Dietze says she hopes "that [the audience leaves] feeling like they've been through something like these girls have."

The Echo Theater Company's production of 'Dry Land' will play at the Atwater Village Theatre Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays April 9 – May 15 with preview performances April 6 – 8. For more information, call (310)-307-3753 or visit www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.

Reach Staff Writer Rachael McNamara at rkmcnama@usc.edu.