‘Water by the Spoonful’ causes tears by the bucketful

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.


Analysis: ‘The Newsroom:’ An HBO series that changes the way we think about news

What if the news was reported incredibly well, with “no demographic sweet spot, a place where we can all come together.” What if this was the type of news station we all gathered around. Someplace where we could get facts and decency with no party biases getting in the way. Will McAvoy, the lead of “Newsroom” had this same dream.

“The Newsroom” was a short lived piece of HBO drama that young journalists dream of. The fast-paced fact checking, the witty banter with fellow employees, and a community of people all searching for the truth — what aspiring undergraduate wouldn’t watch this?

There are some series that make the audience want to take action. This television show inspires the younger generation by subtly pointing out problems in society. Similar to shows like “Mad Men” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Newsroom” speaks to the youth of its day. While some may not fully understand the lure of a newsroom drama, what makes it so good is the way it looks into an ideal version of an industry that could use improvement.

The main criticism of this show (and there’s not many) is that it’s not realistic. “The Newsroom” may not be realistic, but that is the entire point. The purpose is to show people the disparity between the current state of media and what it could be if the news was reported ethically and level headed. The method behind this series is to show the viewer how the news world would be if high profile networks didn’t have to tow the party line, worry about profits, or have fair sources.

“The Newsroom” features a cast of talented, serious actors including Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer and Olivia Munn. The writing of the show paired with the strong crew succeeds at creating a dignified yet witty and friendly feel to the show. The importance of the stories the show’s television network, ACN, reports on is balanced by friendly wit when the characters interact. There’s also a little piece of relationship drama with Maggie and Jim, because it wouldn’t be an HBO show without a touch of romantic drama.

The cast also introduces some amazingly strong women in powerful positions. It shows the reality of being a woman, as well as an executive. One example appears in season two.

Sloan, the economics anchor, is dragged by her wrist through the newsroom by her executive producer. She demands that “if [he] ever lead [her] by the wrist through that newsroom again, [she’d] take out each of [his] … knuckles with a ball-peen hammer.” While this is a very extreme situation, it shows the mistreatment that women often times have to deal with in the workplace.

“The Newsroom” calls attention to workplace harassment, especially with Sloan’s character — likely because she seems to go against all stereotypes. She is beautiful, smart, sarcastic, socially awkward, yet charming. Who better to spit in the face of female stereotypes?

“The Newsroom” is a brilliant drama on what our news could — and should — be. It is an intricate display of journalism and feminism that is definitely worth a watch!