2016 — Song of the River.

This play was about water chestnuts — an invasive water plant that threatens the Mystic River's ecosystem. In our play, the river inhabitants — birds, fish, dragonflies & mermaids — find a way to fight the water chestnuts (with the help of a big, orange harvester) and win back their river.

Play Synopsis:

Scene 1: A girl named Grace lives by the Mystic River in Medford, MA. She loves the river and all of its creatures. When she takes her brother Michael out on the river in a canoe, he falls in and lands on the hard, spiky nut of a water chestnut.

Scene 2: A Blue Heron, who is the Mystic's finest story teller, is concerned about Michael. When she finds out that he is OK, she tells Grace and Michael the story of the river.

Scene 3: A mermaid, born of the oneness of the river and the land, frolics and plays with her friends - the river inhabitants. She tells her friends that the deep mysteries of the ocean are calling her, but she will return when the river needs her the most.

SONG: "We Are One"

Scene 4: A professor returns from years abroad studying rare and unusual plants. He brings back the asian water chestnut, trapa natans, and plants it in Fresh Pond.

SONG: "Multiply"

Scene 5: The water chestnut has no natural predators in Fresh Pond so it multiplies and spreads to other rivers and ponds. The fish are disturbed by the aggressive behavior of the water chestnuts who threaten to take away their oxygen.

Scene 6: Sensing a time of need, the mermaid and her daughters return to the Mystic River. The river inhabitants chase off the water chestnuts when they attack the mermaids, and together, they all begin to make a plan to fight back.

Scene 7: Hannah the Harvester is a big orange teenager who can't find her feet, until she discovers that she doesn't have any — she has wheels. And she also discovers that she has an important job on the river — pulling up water chestnuts.

Scene 8: The river inhabitants prepare to fight the water chestnuts and take back their river.

SONG: "If You Love the Mystic River" / "If You Wanna Steal the Oxygen"

Hannah the Harvester returns with her crew of kids in canoes who are helping to pull water chestnuts out of the river during Water Chestnut Removal Day. Together with the river inhabitants, they are making a difference in the health of the river's ecosystem.

SONG: "River"

Song Lyrics:

"We Are One"
(by Bella Brewer)

We are one
With our differences we have fun.
We frolic and flow
And play as we go
'Cause we all are one.

We are one
With our differences we have fun
With love we're all stars
To be who we really are
'Cause we all are one.

(by Liza Kitchell)

Take one plant and plant it in the pond
Out of it will grow a bloom
The bloom will change into a wooden nut
one with 20 seeds inside.

Multiply, multiply, multiply, multiply.
Multiply your seeds and spread.
Multiply, multiply, multiply, multiply.
Multiply your seeds and spread.

From each seed will come many more plants
up to the number twenty-five.
In the river new plants growing strong
That's how they will multiply.

Multiply, multiply, multiply, multiply.
Multiply your seeds and spread.
Multiply, multiply, multiply, multiply.
Multiply your seeds and spread.

From one nut will come 500 plants!
That's how they will multiply!

(by Bill Staines)

VERSE 1: I was born in the path of the winter wind
I was raised where the mountains are old
Their springtime waters came dancing down
And I remember the tales they told

River, take me along in your sunshine, sing me a song
Ever moving and winding and free
You rolling old river, you changing old river
Let's you and me, river, run down to the sea.

VERSE 2: I've heard all the songs that the children sing
And listened to life's melodies
I've felt my own music within me rise
Like the wind in the autumn trees


VERSE 3: Someday when the flowers are blooming still
Someday when the grass is still green
My rolling waters will round the bend
And flow into the open sea


Wild Tales is funded by a grant from the Somerville Arts Council