Music by Heidi Rodewald
Libretto by Donna DiNovelli
Part requiem, part lifesaving drill, The Good Swimmer is a new music-theatre piece set entirely on a surf beach. The piece translates the kinship relationships of a Greek tragedy to a family of lifeguards during the early days of the Vietnam War. Ripping apart found texts (archaic field guides, historical quotations, defunct manuals) to create song lyrics, 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. The young singers who make up the Lifeguard Chorus reflect the somber truth that a majority of the GIs lost in Vietnam would never reach their 22nd birthday.