Is there anyone who isn’t at least slightly maddened by days and days on rain? I’ve spent many summers working outdoors under mostly temporary cover. It’s been years, but I vividly remember the feeling of perpetually wet socks and bones that felt internally chilled. In the summer of 2008, when I was working as an adventure guide at a camp in the White Mountains, it rained 29 days in June and 30 days in July. We ran out of “rainy day” activities less than a week in. Staff and campers alike resigned themselves to permanent dampness and we carried on carrying on in the rain.
The twelve unique voices within Summerwater are all waterlogged as well. They are all on vacation in a Scottish holiday park; families old and new are holed up in mildewed cottages watching the rain fall, fall, fall. I highly recommend experiencing this piece through audio; performer Morven Christie imbues every character with a unique and studied voice. Moss and Christie cover the thoughts of the very young, the very old, and everyone in-between. We hear from newly engaged lovers, small children, nervous mothers, jealous fathers, and angst-ridden teens. Some own the holiday homes, some scrimped and saved for the break, and some are locals. What do they have in common? All of the stream-of-consciousness narrations come from British characters. We even hear from local flora and fauna. We don’t hear from them directly, but almost every character has something to say – or think – about the holiday cottage filled with “others”. They don’t look right, they don’t speak right, they don’t tolerate the rain in the right way- and their differences will come to a rolling boil despite the cold chill of the park around them.
Moss has a way with taking the calm, normal goings-on of the world and ratcheting them up into wire-tense moments. Who will do what to whom? Who will act? Who will, like the reader, simply let it all roll over them like the ever constant rain?