Water by the Spoonful

todayFebruary 10, 2014 28

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The Texas State Theatre Department will quench people’s thirst this weekend with a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Water by the Spoonful.

Water by the spoonful
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    Water by the Spoonful

That was a scene from Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes. The drama made its debut in the Texas State PSH Foundation Studio Theatre on Friday and continued its run through the weekend.

Texas State graduate student Julian Verner directed the on-campus production that he describes as an ensemble piece, including a ghost, about choosing to face the truth and being able to forgive.

But these lessons are made more difficult when real and online worlds collide. The character of Elliot Ortiz, played by Texas State theater sophomore Nicholas Ortiz, is an Iraq war veteran who returns home and is eventually forced to face the demons from his past. He prolongs these confrontations through drug abuse and frequenting an online addicts forum, where all that is known about a person is filtered through their own skewed perception of themselves.

Nicholas Ortiz says the connection he has with his character is deeper than having the same last name.

“I can relate to family issues, his neglectful mother. It’s a lot about my family: how the people were reacting when my grandmother died and how they acted; the resent toward certain family members, addiction problems, not being brought up by your own parents, by somebody else, that resentment that is there.”
– Nicholas Ortiz

Elliot gets a strong dose of the real world when he returns home from Iraq. He is wounded, haunted by the man he first killed as a U.S. Marine, and, while previously considered a war hero, is now making sandwiches for a living. Ortiz says his character kind of fell off the tracks and is having to come to terms with his own mortality.

Verner says he was not familiar with Water by the Spoonful before being assigned to direct the script for his thesis, but after reading it became excited to have the opportunity to share its story with local audiences. Even despite the play’s challenges.

“There are a lot of challenges. The script is tough to get out there. There’s a message and it has a story to tell, but just trying to get that out to the audience.”
– Julian Verner

This production of Water by the Spoonful, the second in a trilogy of plays by Hudes centering on the Ortiz family, has been entered in the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Gass-Poore,’ KTSW News

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