This play is about the things that hold us back and the people who help us move forward. It deals with crack addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the advantages and limits of connecting through the Internet. Its available in-person and to stream through September 26th.
Elliot Ortiz, played by Daniel Molina is every bit the soldier who has tried to protect and defend and is haunted by ghosts from his past. Vilma Silva as Haikumom, also known as Odessa is the mother and relapsed addict whose good intentions gain empathy. The supporting cast contained wonderful work from Nancy Rodriguez as Yazmin Ortiz, Bruce A.Young as Chutes & Ladders aka Clayton “Buddy” Wilkie and Celeste Den as Orangutan, Barzin Akhavan as Ghost , professor Aman and police, Barret O'Brien as Fountainhead, also know as John.
The show begins in what might be the present day with a support-group meeting with Odessa and two other recovering addicts. Each of the characters occupy their own square riser enclosing their cyber world. I expect them to confess their drug of choice and goals for recovery. Since this is not traditional therapy, what the audience gets instead is an authentic retelling of their story. And their stories are breathtaking. All the characters describes their desires and hopeful outcomes. These are everyday characters with jobs and seemingly average lives. It's no surprise that two recoveries strike up an unlikely romance as the cyber world creates that fine line of perceived safety and eventual need for direct contact.
Director Shishir Kurup states, “I am moved by how the play reveals the many subtle ways people soothe themselves, how they find escape from their quietly desperate lives and how they deny the truth to keep it from affecting their cherished coping mechanisms.”
Along with a unique storyline, the play incorporates distinctive lighting by Geoff Korf. Nine blue lit squares are used to show the characters communicating to one another in different environmenst with black paths in between.The blue lighting suited Water by the Spoonful, and may symbolize the ever growing trust along with states of depression. Although more dynamic lighting may have reflected the varied emotions, the blue lit squares didn’t add much texture to the background but was helpful in showing the cyber support group, adding to visual aesthetic that may have not been achieved if the characters were sitting behind computer screens. The effect reminded me of Dance Dance Revolution.Water by the Spoonful reveals life with PTSD and depicts the intense emotional ways people numb the pain. The dialogue stabs the heart and is quite relevant in a world where two million people struggle with at least one addiction and only ten percent receive help.