Pomona theater’s ‘Water by the Spoonful’ tackles relationships, drug addiction, recovery

Kieth Ferguson PO ’20 plays an IRS help desk representative in “Water by the Spoonful” Oct. 10. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

CW: mentions of drug addiction

This article contains mild spoilers.

Relationships, family, frailties, and addiction. The Pomona College production “Water by the Spoonful” bares it all when handling trauma, recovery, and family ties. The story of four recovering addicts unravels both in the real world as well as in an online chat room.

“This role is so intense. This is an intense character,” Alex Collado PO ’20 said when asked about playing the role of Elliot Ortiz. “He goes through a lot throughout the show and the audience goes on the journey with him.” Ortiz is a central character, burdened by the searing memory of his recent tour in Iraq as a marine.

Viewers should not expect a humorous take on real world issues, but rather a raw and emotional exhibit of each character’s personal development. Through the cast’s investment in their roles and the poignant plot, the audience will be carried through a passionate account of the trials that face the Ortiz family and the community forged within the online chat room.

“Students are definitely going to get something out of the show,” Collado said.“Everyone can connect to the emotions and journeys the characters are experiencing.”

Though not everyone has experienced the topics handled in “Water by the Spoonful,” the themes of family, community, and inner demons may resonate with all viewers.

Originally written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, this adaptation of “Water by the Spoonful” by Pomona College Theatre and Dance is directed by Los Angeles based director, Diana Wyenn. Wyenn was recruited to direct the diverse and eager all-student cast. The cast is comprised of students of all grades from Pomona and Scripps College, with a crew from all five Claremont Colleges.

Alex Collado PO ’20 and Sara Acevedo PO ’21 act out a scene in “Water by the Spoonful” Oct. 10. (Chloe Ortiz • The Student Life)

“You have professional designers from Los Angeles,” said Michele Miner, the production manager for the department of theatre and dance at Pomona. “Diana herself is a professional director from Los Angeles and New York.”

Miner and the production staff incorporated multimedia to bring the online world to the stage. The use of various on-stage screens and projections helps to engage the audience in the connectivity and intimacy of the support group chat room.

“The designer creates the actual product, but we bought all of the screens,” Miner said. “We invested in the multimedia thinking it would be a good idea in the future, as this seems to be the way things are going.”

Multimedia has been used by the theatre company in the past, though this is the first time the crew has all their own equipment here at Pomona. Thanks to this production, the department of theatre and dance now has the screens and projectors on hand to elevate the audience’s experience and interaction with the performance.

“Water by the Spoonful” has been brought to life by a dedicated student cast and crew, alongside committed stagehands and a vivacious director.

“Come see the show,” Collado said. “Even if you have no experience with drug addiction. Every single person in this show is fighting for their lives. At the end of the day, I know all of us will make you feel something.”

The cast moves the audience with their bone-chilling depiction of the inner workings of the battle of addiction. Actor Zed Hopkins PO ’20 thrills the audience with his spirited and powerful role as Fountainhead, an entrepreneurial family man struggling with addiction.

The desire of the cast is that each audience member walks in and experiences the story with them, and walks out a living vision of the emotion. “Our goal for this show is to create change within each viewer,” Collado said. “We believe this story is powerful and deserves to be told.”

You can come experience each character’s journey at any of the five showings starting Oct. 11 through Oct. 14. Tickets and showtimes can be found online or via their Facebook event, “Water by the Spoonful.”

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