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Chautauqua Institution explores why water matters

It's week four of the Chautauqua Institution's 2012 season.  Highlights include the live recording of an NPR classical music program, the world premiere of a new play and the answer to the question of why water matters.  WBFO and AM 970's Mark Scott has this preview.

Many of us take water for granted, especially here in Western New York, where the supply of fresh water from the Great Lakes is plentiful.  But there are real concerns across the world about the future supply of this precious resource.  So, this week, Chautauqua's Education Director Sherra Babcock says the Institution is teaming with a well known partner about why water matters.

"We share a concern with the National Geographic Society on the question of how do we protect our water resources," Babcock said.  "We're located by Chautauqua Lake.  So, questions about what is happening with our fresh water supply will be dealt with."

But it's not just about fresh water.  Marine biologist and author Sylvia Earle will speak at the Amphitheatre Wednesday morning about her deep ocean explorations and how our fate is tied to the health of the oceans.  Afternoons this week, Religion Director Joan Brown Campbell says a variety of speakers representing different faiths will talk about the important role water plays in religion.

"We will look at it from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim perspectives.  What does the role of water play in (their) religious lives?"  Brown Campbell will ask them.  "We're going to ask every single one why does water matter.  The future of the world may be tied to whether there is enough water."

At Chautauqua's Bratton Theater this week, it's a world premiere play, "50 Ways."

"As the title might imply, '50 Ways' is a look at the many ways we turn our backs on our long term relationships," said Theater Director Vivienne Benesch.  She says the play was written by Chautauqua favorite Kate Fodor, an emerging playwright whom the New York Times has proclaimed as one of the "Eight to Watch" in the theater world.

"She is a playwright of such humanity, compassion and wit.  But she's also lacerating," Benesch said.  "This play is a remarkably human look at a difficult situation we can all identify with."

"50 Ways" premiers Friday night at 8.  At the same time that night, the Amphitheatre will be buzzing with the taping of an NPR show many of you are familiar with. Vice President Marty Merkley says he's pleased they've been able to attract "From the Top" to Chautauqua for a taping of the classical music show.

"They will bring their usual array of young artists," Merkley said.  "In fact, two of the performers are here at Chautauqua studying music this summer."

And then Saturday night, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra will perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus at the Amphitheatre.