Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong Staten Island home of Marty and Mary Murphy. But the storm has ripped apart more than just the walls: with their neighbors too devastated to stay, the couple’s beloved community is in danger of disappearing forever. Determined to rebuild, Marty wages a campaign to save his neighborhood and his home, but when the Murphys’ sons arrive to help their parents dig out, past betrayals come rushing to the surface. With fierce compassion and poignant humor, BY THE WATER reminds us that the very powers that tear us apart can also bring us together.
BY THE WATER traces the impact of a devastating natural disaster on a middle class couple who were already trudging uphill. Drawn with acute sympathy and in gritty detail, the play dramatizes the kind of story that filled newspapers in the months after Hurricane Sandy. It’s clear from the pungent dialogue—which is seasoned with salty humor—that Rothstein knows these characters inside out.