Submerge Into and Embrace the Water in ‘Deepest Man’


Submerge Into and Embrace the Water in ‘Deepest Man’

Deepest Man is a play written by James Scruggs and directed by Mark Rayment. It uses visual projections to submerge the audience under water and in the mind of Dr. Hazzardville Sommers, a doctor whose wife died by drowning. Dr. Sommers finds solace in the words of an Oprah-style talk show host and in contemplating the experience of freediving, deep underwater diving without the use of artificial breathing equipment. The combination of video, holograms, and live performance is a strength of 3-Legged Dog, a media and theater group that uses technology as art to create a unique kind of storytelling, one that goes beyond words.

A static noise opens the play, Dr. Sommers (Spencer Barros) enters the stage with another doctor (Vienna Carroll) and two nurses (Libby Skala and Miguel Reis). It appears we are in a mental health facility. At the front of the stage stands a lone, pristine sink filled with water. Dr. Sommers lowers his head into the sink. He is attempting to simulate the experience of freediving. His face appears as a hologram on the stage, and soon, projections of water rise along the walls of the theater surrounding the audience. The room transports to another place, somewhere beneath a mass of heavy, dense water. As Dr. Sommers submerges, the audience goes with him.

Inside Dr. Sommers’ fantasy, he laments his dead wife, recalling his inability to save her. Talk show host Des’Ree Collins (Alva Chinn), who he worships, appears. He emulates her and becomes a self-help guru to three other patients who also experienced drowning-related tragedies. These three new characters tell their stories and Dr. Sommers listens carefully. As they retell their traumatic experiences, the stage mimics the storm that killed their loved ones and left them confused and riddled with guilt.

Deepest Man is beautiful, strange, and confusing. It is an immersive play in more ways than one. The walls that surround the audience are decrepit, we are inside the mental hospital not just observing it, and characters appear outside the formal stage and as three-dimensional holograms. Projections of water and divers appear to the front and sides of the audience. Visually it is an impressive feat.

Story-wise, Deepest Man is less affecting. The action takes place outside of reality and in the mind of one person. There is not much plot to speak of, rather it is a mediation on grief, incapacitation, and immersion. What happened and why was not clear but witnessing Deepest Man is an arresting experience that leaves one thinking about the beauty of its technical elements and its elusive meaning. 

Critic’s Review

New York Times
In Over His Head: In ‘Deepest Man,’ an Immersion Into a Watery Beyond

Theatre Is Easy
Holograms, projections, and live action tell the story Dr. Sommers in a compelling production

NYTheater Now
But the vigor and enthusiasm of the actors was not sufficient to drive this disjointed story –purportedly a study of grief

Joes at Shows Podcast
Season 4, Episode 1: “Deepest Man” @ 3LD (w/ Alex Ramsey)


$20 (Click here for tickets)


Performances through June 14


3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center
80 Greenwich Street
New York City
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60 minutes, no intermission

(partial list)

Written by James Scruggs

Directed by Mark Rayment

Featuring Spencer Barros, Vienna Carroll, Alva Chinn, Miguel Reis, and Libby Skala


 3-Legged Dog