Imagine the film "Crash" set at Bowdoin, and you have something that might resemble "The Water Project." As their final project, the students of Theater 322 wrote, produced, and will perform the play this weekend.

The students have spent the semester working with Saratoga International Theatre Institute member J. Ed Araiza, the Coastal Studies Center's artist-in-residence. "The Water Project" plays into coastal themes as a collaborative performance piece. Because it is a collaborative piece, the students in the class participated at various levels, from performing to costume design to sound.

"It's the most intense theater experience I've had," said Anthony DiNicola '07, one of the performers. "We have rehearsal six days a week, and no one is more committed than another because it's collaborative."

Theo Salter '07, another student in the play, agreed with DiNicola's assessment of the work everyone put into the piece, but also said, "I enjoy trying to put this much energy into one project."

As for the play itself, performer Anton Handel '07 described it as "people on their own little paths. It's 'Crash' meets MTV."

It was DiNicola who proposed the "Crash" analogy: "It's a 'Crash' look at college, with love stories and hate stories, people meeting and not meeting."

Salter expanded on Handel's description of the play and commented on the parody aspect.

"Our generation is closed off by technology, and you're stuck in the little world inside your head," he said. "There are comedic aspects from college, but it's also serious."

Since "The Water Project" is a student effort, the play is the culmination of the class experiences. Class members wrote scenes every day, went through timed writing exercises, and revised those scenes numerous times.

"All the choices are specific," Handel said.

"And, all the choices are made by us," DiNicola added.

Because of the project's nature, the students will keep making changes right up to the night of the performance.

"We'll be working on it and tweaking it until Saturday," DiNicola said.

Handel's observation about making specific choices ties into two methods that Araiza introduced for actor training, the Suzuki Method and the Viewpoints. The Suzuki Method teaches the performers to relax and concentrate on breathing and speaking onstage.

"It's a training that emphasizes stillness, and that you control choice," Handel said. "[In practice] you move to stillness as fast as possible."

"You put your body into crazy, nontraditional positions," DiNicola said.

Handel proceeded to demonstrate such positions in the middle of Smith Union by lifting his knee to various heights and holding the one-legged pose.

Salter explained the practical reasons for Handel's bizarre-seeming poses.

"People get conformed by life and lose touch with the body, with that they refer to as 'animal energy,'" he said.

With Suzuki and Viewpoints, he said, "You try to relax, be aware of what's happening around you and react naturally to it."

Thanks to the student involvement, the talents of Araiza, professional lighting from Brian Scott, and songs developed by Christian Frederickson from the indie rock group Rachel's, "The Water Project" promises to be an experience. Tickets are free and available at the Smith Union Info Desk for performances Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.

"It'll push buttons, make you laugh, make you uncomfortable and think," DiNicola said. "You may want to see it twice, I'm not kidding."