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Theatre / Don't Drink the Water

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Don't Drink the Water is a comedy play written by Woody Allen. Written and set in The '60s, the play bases itself around the Cold War. In an unnamed European country behind the Iron Curtain, the American Ambassador must leave the Embassy for business. In his absence he places his incompetent son Axel Magee in charge. Almost immediately the Embassy is thrust into a crisis as the Hollanders, an American family of tourists, come rushing in on the run from the Communist police. Walter, the father, had accidentally snuck into a high security area and taken pictures, causing the communist to believe the family are spies. Axel digs the hole deeper and the embassy is surrounded, leaving the Hollanders trapped.


Two movie versions exist, one that came out in 1969 starring Jackie Gleason as Walter, and a TV movie in 1994 starring Allen as Walter, Julie Kavner as Marion, Michael J. Fox as Axel, Mayim Bialik as Susan, and Dom De Luise as Father Drobney.

The main characters are:

  • Axel Magee - An American foreign diplomat who only went into the business due to his father rather than his actual talent in art. He has a tendency to ramble, especially when nervous. He falls in love with Susan during the play.
  • Walter Hollander - A caterer from Newark, New Jersey. He is married to Marion and is the father of Susan and Seth. He causes his family to become trapped in the American embassy after he takes pictures of a high security area. He is very loud and abrasive but he can be kind when he wants to.
  • Marion Hollander - Walter's homemaker wife and the mother of Susan and Seth, she too is somewhat inappropriate but she's much kinder then Walter.
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  • Susan Hollander - Walter and Marion's beautiful daughter who falls in love with Axel.
  • Father Drobney - A priest hiding out in the embassy for 6 years with a love of magic tricks. He is the narrator of the play.
  • Kilroy - Ambassador Magee's stuck-up assistant who is much more competent at his job than Axel.
  • Krojack - The head of the Communist police who traps the Hollanders in the embassy.
  • Burns - An assistant working at the embassy.
  • Ambassador Magee - Axel's father who is the ambassador of the unnamed country and the head of the embassy.
  • Chef - The embassy's chef, who consistently butts heads with Walter.


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Alternative Title(s): Dont Drink The Water


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