Category Archive for: ‘Kedar K. Adour’
WATER BY THE SPOONFUL: Drama by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Directed by Leslie Martinson. TheatreWorks, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.
August 20—September 14, 2014
Water by the Spoonful given a Prize winning performance at TheatreWorks. Rating:
TheatreWorks once again demonstrates its standing as one of the Big Three theatrical groups, along with A.C.T. and Berkeley Rep, in the Bay Area. This time they have mounted a stunning and powerful production of Water by the Spoonful. The play won, and deserved, the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2012. It is the second part of her “Elliot Trilogy” plays dissecting the life of a Puerto Rican Iraq War veteran living in Philadelphia. It is a standalone play in the trilogy with Elliot (Miles Gaston Villanueva )being the only character from the other plays. It is a play for our time and transcends ethnic stereotyping.
For this reviewer who does not do Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, have an IPhone or enter chat rooms it was a learning experience. The aforementioned means of communication have replaced personal social interaction and in Quiara Alegia Hudes play she demonstrates their omnipresence in our digital world.
The play’s construction is a fascinating jigsaw puzzle intermingling present day personal action, internet connectivity, out of body experiences, didactics and symbolism. The symbolism of course involves water beginning with the ‘spoonful of water’ and ending with a Puerto Rican waterfall. (Marvelous projections by Erik Scanlon on Erik Flatmo’s three level split set).
In an early scene Quiara Hudes, a trained musician and composer who wrote the book for the Tony Award winning In the Heights”, introduces Yazmin (Sabina Zuniga Varela), cousin to Elliot and a music composition professor. Using John Coltrane’s music as examples, she lectures the students (the audience) on the meaning of dissonance. The tone is set for very dissonant relationships.
Elliot, a wounded Iraqi War veteran would be actor, works in a menial job in a sandwich shop and is the caretaker for his dying aunt who raised him. He has his own demons from the war experience. When the aunt dies, Elliot and Yazmin search for his birth mother who gave him up as child.
In a parallel story taking place in the digital world , the birth mother Odessa (Zilah Mendoza), known as Haikumom online, functions as a leader in a chat room dedicated to recovering ‘crack-head’ drug addicts. The members of the chat room trust her guidance and are unaware of her own demons.
The other members of the chat room are “Orangutan/Madeleine” (Anna Ishida); “Chutes & Ladders/Wilkie” (Anthony J. Haney) and “Fountainhead/John.”( Patrick Kelly Jones). Orangutan is in Japan. She had been given up by her mother, adopted and raised in Maine but has returned to Japan to discover her roots. Chutes & Ladders is a middle-aged black man, lives in San Diego and works in a dull office job. Fountainhead is a former leader in the digital world who has kept his addiction secret from his family. There is seventh character that occasionally roams on stage, is the Arabic ‘Ghost’ in Elliot’s imagination and does not fit very well into the intricately constructed play.
The acting of the each major actor is distinctive, believable and memorable under director Leslie D Martinson’s tight control as she moves them like chess pieces on Flatmo’s unique multi-level set amongst brilliant projections and dissonant music. Running time 2 hours 25 minutes with an intermission. Highly recommended.
CAST: Miles Gaston Villanueva as “Elliot”; Sabina Zuniga Varela as “Yazmin”; George Psarras as “Professor Aman/Ghost”; Zilah Mendoza as “Odessa/Haikumom”; Anna Ishida as “Orangutan/Madeleine”; Anthony J. Haney as “Chutes & Ladders/Wilkie”; Patrick Kelly Jones as “Fountainhead/John.”
Artistic Staff: Scenic Designer,Erik Flatmo;Costume Designer,Anna R. Oliver;Lighting Designer,Steven B. Mannshardt;Sound Designer,Gregory Robinson;Projections Designer,Erik Scanlon;Dialect Coach,Kimberly Mohne Hill;Casting Director;Leslie Martinson;Los Angeles Casting Director, Julia Flores;Stage Manager,Randall K. Lum;Assistant Stage Manager,Stephanie Schliemann.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.