Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize winning play “Water by the Spoonful” just wrapped up production here at UW Tacoma. The performance was spectacular.
In particular, junior Lucas Gomez’s interpretation of Elliot Ortiz was captivating. Throughout the play, Elliot fights with his birth mother over past and present familial deaths, all while hiding a dark secret from his service as a Marine in Iraq. You could really feel the visceral anger and hurt in Gomez’s acting.
If you’re not familiar with the “Spoonful,” it can seem confusing due to the two different, yet equally prominent storylines — online chat room conversations and real time occasions with the Ortiz family. However, by intermission, everything came together seamlessly in an epiphanic moment. The strings that tie the play together create a whole-picture vibe that lends itself to the realness of the story.
Each and every actor pulled you into the show, enough to want to respond to their wondering questions and painful testaments. The Cherry Parkes’ Broadcast Studio Theatre, was the perfect home for this play. The intimate set up better allowed for the actors to bring you into their lives as a member rather than viewer.
“Spoonful” was written to be real, which definitely works in its favor. It’s not soap opera dramatic, nor is it obnoxiously hopeful. It’s real life that each and every person can relate to in one way or another. It leaves you questioning your life, and what others had to go through. It leaves you happily mindless, with your brain doubtlessly replaying some of the most intense moments over again.
One instance of this was during a moving monologue by Writing Studies professor Walt Moore. His portrayal of FOUNTAINHEAD, a crack addict in denial, summarizes his upper class life to the existing chatroom members was astounding — especially when he is immediately shut down for his pompous attitude.
Having a faculty member audition and cast in “Spoonful” was a big step in the right direction for UW Tacoma’s ever-growing and diverse theatre community. Moore’s philosophy on acting alongside students was one future auditionees should follow.
“I feel like I am an equal with everyone else in the performance,” said Moore. “My experience is leaving my faculty label at the door.”
I’m no acting aficionado, but the cast also did a remarkable job at maintaining the reality of this tragic, funny and heartwarming story. There is a friendliness and familiarity amongst the cast, as well as believable hurt and betrayal that lends itself to the realistic feel of “Spoonful.”
Overall, UW Tacoma’s production of “Water by the Spoonful” was a hit, performed exceptionally well by UW Tacoma affiliates and community actors. I would implore you to attend any coming UW Tacoma productions — you won’t regret it.