Water by the Spoonful

March 5—April 13 $39–$75
Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW, Washington, DC
(202) 332-3300
Water by the Spoonful is the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning middle chapter of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy of dramas centered, to varying degrees, around Elliot Ortiz, a Marine veteran of the 21st century Iraq war now returned to his native North Philadelphia with chronic nightmares and a chronic leg injury. Between acting gigs in commercials, Elliot works as a “sandwich artist” at Subway, perhaps a lowlier station in Philly than in a city less celebrated for its indigenous hoagies. In Spoonful’s first half, Elliot and his Swarthmore music–professor cousin, Yazmin, prepare to say goodbye to their ailing grandmother, who reared Elliot, while a parallel story unfolds among the users of a chatroom for, well, users—specifically, crack addicts reaching across the void of cyberspace to try to keep themselves and one another clean. The chatroom users have bits of individual business to perform as they speak, but as the exchanges heat up they begin to see and interact with one another onstage. Hudes’ scenario is a deftly arranged equation of suffering, an examination of whose hurt trumps whose. It feels slightly schematic only in hindsight. [CK]

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