Water by the Spoonful
By Quiara AlegrÃa Hudes
Directed by David Reed
Starring Adonis Perez and Danielle Glenn
I think we’re all junkies on this bus. Elliot (Perez) returns from Iraq haunted by the people he killed. His sister Odessa (Glenn) watches him melt down until he stumbles onto a chat room run by “Haikumom.” Haikumom is an ex-addict, and for penance she runs a chat room for recovering crack addicts. Her chatters all go by clever names like Chutes and Ladders (Kerry Alce) and Orangutan (Soontaree Simms) They count their days sober, a number which rarely makes double digits. Newcomer Fountainhead (Brian Weigand) just joined, he’s a successful professional with the IRS and hides his problem from his wife, kids and boss. It’s just like real life, but here everyone carries a pet monkey on their back. Support helps, if only a little, and the daily drama stays high and painful. The individual shoot ups and crashes all melt together; sorting them out is a dreary task. Even when some of the players here make real changes, improvements seem short terns and fragile. Maybe a change of scenery will help, and Elliot heads off to Puerto Rico to dry out in the sun. It may work, it may not, but we get a very impressive video waterfall on this stage that symbolizes hope for the future. I want these people to get better, but deep down in my heart I don’t have a lot of hope for anyone here.
A simple set with clever projections attempts to heal these deep psychic wounds, and maybe they can be cured. Perez’s Elliot is a strong angry man who, once traumatized, stays traumatized. His sister Odessa (Glen) is the calm rational once, she rarely gets aroused and then mostly at her brother. The chat room denizen (Alice, Wingard, and Simms) seem a bit more fun. They each struggle with sobriety, and that dominates their lives and drives their witty back and forth. They’re more likable as well; and while the addictions are just as bad, they are all isolated. We have ups, we have downs, we have important revelation. But ultimately we have a pack of lost souls trying to save each other and never quite getting out of the woods. Having an addict in your life might cause this show to grip you better, but I’d not wish that on anyone. Whether this is a walk on the wild side for you, or a mirror of your own family, this is a Serious and Important Work, and a challenge to enjoy.