In our pandemic-devastated world, the prophetic Pulitzer winner Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes seems even more relevant now than when she penned it. The fracturing of our traditional community and family bonds that was rampant a decade ago has snowballed into the dispiriting dissolution of culture and world we face today. Where do we feel safe? To what do we belong? As we search around us for something to cling to, this brilliant play tenderly raises its hand.
Ms. Hudes has raised her acute antennae up into the storm to pull down an eternally hopeful truth. We humans will somehow always find a way. A way to connect, a way to belong, a way to give, to sustain, and to enjoy life. Water by the Spoonful proves that although our biological families and cultural institutions may fail to support us, we will heroically find those who choose to love and invest in us. Stretching like a comforting blanket around our globe, online communities step into the gap created by forced separation, and the seven magnificent protagonists of Spoonful build themselves a family out of the rubble of their damaged lives.
They build a home out of shared pain and understood experience. They harness their yearning for companionship to forge real bonds across cyberspace. They battle their addiction by banding together. They reach across thousands of miles to give and receive love, and they nurture their parched spirits with drops of digital moisture. How could such a miracle even be possible? How could these particular addicts cast nets into the void of the digital universe and find like spirits, the only ones among the billions who could understand them precisely?
As innovative and resourceful as we at San Francisco Playhouse strove to be during the worst of the pandemic, putting on weekly Zoomlets and six filmed productions that you all were able to share at home, how relieved we were when, separated by two seats per party, masked and tested, we were finally able to gather again in person. As the characters in this play prove in their courageous odyssey across thousands of miles of actual space, we ultimately must come together and build community, in theatre and in life, one spoonful at a time.