Written by Erika Dickerson-Despanza; Directed by Jada Suzanne Dixon. Produced by Curious Theatre Company (1080 Acoma Street, Denver) through June 15. Tickets available at 303-623-0524 or

Three generations of one family of strong-willed women share a house and a situation. This is dramatically illustrated by the cascading walls of empty water bottles and tick marks on the wall counting off the days they have survived without clean water. They cook with and drink from bottled water; they bathe in, eliminate into, and clean with the “colored water” of the title. They have coping mechanisms for everything but the anger. 

Sheryl McCallum as Big Ma, the matriarch of the family, displays the resignation of living a long life of injustice and the acceptance of being unable to make changes. She has a gentility that rings true and is too often thrown into the unwilling role of mediator.  

Her two daughters Marion (a dynamic Alex Campbell) and Ainee (a ferocious Kristina Fountaine) have very different attitudes toward the neglect of their political community to help them. Water filters are promised; changes are always “coming,” yet there are no solutions, and more tick marks are added to the wall. A recovering addict dependent on her family, Ainee’s anger boils over into outright rebellion in the form of becoming a test case for a class action suit. She is unaware that this unwanted action could call attention to her a long-held secret of her sister Marion. Marion is caught between providing for her family or becoming a whistle-blower.  

The two younger members of the family are played by Daja McLeod (Reesee) and Sade Houston (Plum), the helpless victims of bad decisions of those charged with providing their safety. The five women embrace the reality of their family life by laughing when they can, fighting when there is reason, forgiving when they must, and loving when it can’t be helped. Plum is fighting cancer caused by her exposure to the tainted water while Reesee, so disappointed by her reality, has retreated to the mystical beliefs of the ancestors. 

The spectacular set – designed by Tina Anderson and built by the well-trained workers at the DU Department of Technical Theatre is a recycled miracle. Walls are created by strings of empty water bottles beautifully lit in blues by Light Designer Emily Maddox. It almost gives the illusion of living inside an iceberg. “Water, water everywhere – but not a drop to drink.” The four rooms of the shared house – including living room, kitchen, the young girl’s bedroom and a bathroom – fit the limited space and gives the appropriate one-step-above-shabby appearance of a struggling middle-class family with one working member. 

A hard unsolved lesson is illustrated by this story. The political maneuvering around the disgraceful way the Flint Water Crisis was handled by the local and state government is given a real face with this production. The neglect at the top of the “trickle down” has created unsolvable disastrous results for this family – a scenario re-enacted in hundreds of Flint households. 

A WOW factor of 8.75!! 

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