IU Theatre continues the Bicentennial 2019–2020 season with the Pulitzer Prize winning play Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Water by the Spoonful is the second play of Hudes’ Elliot trilogy that dramatizes the story of Elliot Ortiz, an Iraq war veteran from a Puerto Rican community in North Philadelphia. In this play, Elliot returns home from his time in Iraq and is confronted by ghosts. As the play begins, Elliot is working at a restaurant while acting on the side, trying to move forward but still haunted by a figure from his past. His cousin Yazmin, once on track to be a tenured music professor at Swarthmore, finds herself newly divorced and professionally dissatisfied. In a chat room run by haikumom, aka Odessa Ortiz, Elliot’s birth mother, recovering addicts seek connection and recovery.
Trained as a composer and musician, Hudes weaves jazz into the structure of her play, specifically the dissonant free jazz of John Coltrane. “Dissonance,” Yazmin tells her students in regards to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, “is still a gateway to resolution.” We feel the improvisational nature of jazz and the power of dissonance in Hudes’ play as we oscillate between North Philly and the online world of the chat room. According to the 2011 Variety review of the play, “Everyone in the play is living day to day—or spoonful by spoonful […] enabled, hindered, and supported by an ever-interrelated reach of family and friends […] When cyber meets the real world, anger gives way to forgiveness and resistance becomes redemption; the heart of the play opens up and the waters flow freely." Water by the Spoonful is a heartfelt meditation on lives on the brink of redemption.
Rachel Nicole Pierce, third year M.F.A directing candidate, directs IU’s production. Rachel’s work on this production is in partial fulfillment of her M.F.A thesis in Directing. Joining Rachel on the creative team are faculty members Allen Hahn (Lighting Designer), Eric Mayer-García (Dramaturg), Heather Milam (Cutter/Draper), and M.F.A students Megan Branham (Sound Designer), Christopher Mueller (Scenic Designer), Ben Ramos (Technical Director), and Rachel Saylor (Costume Designer).