The production will take place on Nov. 3-8.
The Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University will present the drama “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Nov. 3-8. The performance is virtual and free with a simple reservation.
Heartrending, funny, and ultimately hopeful, this Pulitzer prize-winning play charts multiple paths towards recovery for characters who are haunted by war, drug addiction, and broken families. As the play travels between online and real worlds, we are reminded that human connections and authentic relationships in both worlds rescue us from despair and make us whole.
Director Lorraine Rodriguez-Reyes understands the importance of human connections yet is struck by the irony of the play’s shifts between the online and real worlds and the world we live in today. It is easier, perhaps, to relate to the characters as they talk in a chat room, because “we’re all virtual now; classes, meetings, and performances are happening online. One of the lines from the play is ‘I want more from a relationship than zeros and ones!’ We need the human warmth, the connection.”
The theme of the play, centered around a veteran returning from the Iraq war, is that healing begins with truth. “We only heal if we speak our truth, if we progress,” said Lorraine. “We shouldn’t be ashamed to have these conversations, to help family members and friends, and to stop the whispering.”
The honest, open conversations in “Water by the Spoonful” appeal to her, as her relatives were in the military, and she has been surrounded by those who suffer from PTSD and addiction, especially to opioids. The play is personal to her not only for these reasons, but also because she and the author are both Puerto Rican.
Pamela Rodriguez-Montero, KSU assistant professor of costume design and the play’s projection designer, added, “It’s also important that the play talks about Puerto Rican heritage, especially during Puerto Rican Heritage Month, and also that Lorraine may share her heritage with our students.” Pamela is from Costa Rica and has enjoyed being with other Latinos. “I used to be the only Latino in the room and having other Latinos has given the play a different taste, a different meaning. Even the students are using their ‘Spanglish,’ so it’s been a very interesting collaboration.”
The multicultural nature of the play wasn’t the only big shift; it was also a big change to move the production completely online. Lorraine said that from this experience, she now knows that “anything is possible. We can create art in any form that we like, and we don’t have to stay in the box. We can make our own stories, share our own stories how we see fit.”
Both women are keenly aware of what the students are missing. “We’re in a mode of uncertainty, an emotional rollercoaster, with families away from each other, so, with this production, we are committing to a form of doing the theatre aspect of it-not live-but committing to something so that the students have stability, that someone cares about their process, and students will realize a completion,” said Lorraine.
The entire performance is virtual; every student is at home. Pamela directed short movies to include in the virtual production, helping the production come to life for the audience; voiceovers and a highly technical set design process complete the drama.
“We’ve been very creative in trying to find ways to go around the problems, to put our creative minds together and be fearless. We have laughed a lot, we have made jokes, and not even the distance of being apart has taken this away from us. We can still tell the story through multimedia and convey those moments of intimacy and human touch, even without touching,” said Pamela.
Lorraine hopes that audience members will remember that “no matter what happens in our life, there is always the bright side, the love, the silver lining. We should all focus on the love, the human connection, and the truth, and we will always find our way out.”
Don’t miss “Water by the Spoonful” Nov. 3-8. Simply make your reservation to watch online.