TEN31 Gargoyles

Our WaterFire story is a creation myth—and our AH-HA moment—for WaterFire changed our lives, forever. This story begins with two friends: Eric Auger and myself, Joe Pari.

On a whim we made two stone gargoyle costumes, put them on and walked down to the banks of the newly uncovered rivers to discover this new thing called WaterFire. And there we sat quietly in the stillness, transfixed by the glow of the flames.

Miraculously, the music, the firelight in the night and the magic of the evening breathed life into those stone creatures. Without any preconceived notions or choreography, we were transformed and we became those creatures, as they, in turn, discovered the world for the very first time. . .

Almost at once, we were surrounded by a large crowd that formed a dense circle around us causing a standstill on the crowded walkways. While I sat there in the center of this crowd, the music played, the moon rose between the buildings overhead, and beneath my mask my eyes quietly welled up with tears. A voice, within me, said in revelation, “This is what you are supposed to do.”

It was a week before Eric and I were able to share our deeper personal reactions to what we experienced that night at our first WaterFire. And, as we shared our feelings with one another, we were stunned to realize that, beneath our masks, we had both been in tears that night and that we had both simultaneously come to the same epiphany.

On that magical WaterFire evening, exactly one decade ago, two lives were changed forever. Two stone gargoyles came to discover life for the first time. And Eric and I began our journey together to explore a new world of theatrical performance. We created TEN31 Productions and we have never looked back.

Since then, TEN31 has grown into a respected company with dozens of performers and a large collection of original performance pieces. TEN31 is now our life and we have performed at numerous prestigious events and museums around the world, including being hired by the White House to perform at an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC held for Heads of State and President Obama. It all started ten years ago on a quiet night at WaterFire. A night we will never forget, no matter how many times we have returned since then.

– Joe Pari and Eric Auger

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