The first production of the new creative team was Sister Water?—using a phrase taken from a medieval Italian poem composed by Saint Francis of Assisi, in which the whole of natural creation was seen as a divine unity in which man can participate.
The question mark was intended to reinforce the fact that the drama raised troubling and difficult issues: it was the first time that Monticchiello had addressed matters relating to ecology and the environment. Water is of course an element fundamental to such questions; it also loomed large in the history and experience of anyone cultivating the land, and so could be approached in part by remembering stories from Monticchiello’s sharecropping past.
The first act, in three scenes, dramatized key episodes concerning man’s relationship to water during the 1930s. We saw the efforts which had to be made to get enough water; and also surviving superstitions regarding religious propitiation, and water-divining. These episodes were set at a time when the provision of a more modern water-supply system was creating a larger gulf between the villagers who were to benefit and the peasants in the fields who were not.
In the second act, water was shown as a resource which in modern times might reduce the isolation and marginalization of a village like Monticchiello, and open new horizons. The focus was on a proposal to build a new dam across the Orcia river: a controversial project, and one which in the end was never realized.