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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Stage Review

Apollinaire fills ‘pool (no water)’ with imaginative life

CHELSEA — What would you do for art? Or rather, what would you, as an artist, do to make money and further your career? That’s the question asked by British playwright Mark Ravenhill’s darkly disturbing 2006 drama “pool (no water),” which not only has no water but also is devoid of location, characters, or any kind of staging instructions. Taking up just 28 pages in print, and an hour in the theater, the play is a series of recollections about the title entity and what happened there. It could be related by one actor or many. In the fine Apollinaire Theatre Company production now up at Chelsea Theatre Works, director Danielle Fauteux Jacques has apportioned the text among five actors, and they put real flesh on Ravenhill’s bare bones.

The pool — a swimming pool, as you probably suspected — belongs to a former member of an artist group who live in the bohemian quarter of their unnamed city and exhibit in lofts to raise money to benefit heroin babies. When one of the group, Ray, died of AIDS, this former member made art out of his “blood and bandages and catheter and condoms” and became rich and famous. She moved from the city to a place where there are palm trees, and built a swimming pool and hired a pool boy and a personal trainer. Then she invited everyone to fly out and visit. After the funeral of yet another group member, Sally, they all did. That’s when the no-water accident happened and the visiting group members decided to make art out of it, so they could be rich and famous, too.

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