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Fall play uncovers struggle of addiction, healing

Oxford's fall play Water by the Spoonful examines pain, healing, addiction, and what makes family.

Can an online community sustain us when our own world falls apart? A recovery website provides the backdrop for the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Water by the Spoonful. American playwright and composer Quiara Alegría Hudes explores the struggles of Elliot, a Puerto Rican-American war veteran with PTSD. Set in Hudes’ hometown of Philadelphia, the play confronts Elliot's difficult relationship with his mother, a recovering drug addict. His story runs in parallel with four people in an online chatroom for recovering drug addicts.

Water by the Spoonful is the first play that Director Pam Joyce, visiting lecturer in theater studies, brings to Oxford's stage. "I was interested in a piece that included a variety of voices to promote participation from a more diverse body of students," she says.

Performances in Tarbutton Theater are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, October 19 and 20, at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances on Saturday, October 21, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

When testing several scripts in her classroom, students responded to the modern feel of the play, as well as the themes of addiction and recovery. "So many students' lives have been touched by these topics," Joyce says. During rehearsals, students worked alongside Joyce and staff from Counseling and Career Services and the Center for Healthful Living to discuss why this play is important now and in this place. "From this experience, I hope the cast has a deeper understanding of how theater is connected to a community," Joyce adds.

Joyce and Technical Director Jessica Rivers started a new initiative to introduce students to design and tech for the theater. For the first time, they mentored a student stage manager and had a projection design for a show. "I hope that first-year students will see the level of artistry and leadership these second-year students have demonstrated and want to fill those positions next year," Joyce says.

Cast and crew

Students make up the cast and technical crew led by Joyce and Rivers. The student actors in the play include Willis Hao, Axel Nava, Erin Oquindo, Jeniah Thomas, Ian Turner, Francisco Velez, and Haley Williams. Student crew members include Video Operators: Daniel Huff and Komal Ahmad, Stage Manager: Ruya Karakaya, Light Board Operator: Cici Ninkovic, Sound Design/Operator: Rachel Patterson, and Props Manager: Catrina Smith. 

Tickets available 

Tickets for the play, which is open to the public, are $5 each at the door. Tickets may be purchased at the box office 30 minutes prior to the production. Due to mature themes, the play is not suitable for younger audiences. 

 

Audience members get to know the characters through their chatroom personas

Photo Gallery: Fall Play 2017

While Elliot's biological family falls apart, his mother's online family for recovering drug addicts thrives. Audience members get to know the characters through their chatroom personas. Kay Hinton, Emory Photo/Video

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