San Diego, CA–Rehearsals have begun for Cygnet Theatre’s production of “Water by the Spoonful” by Tony-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (In the Heights).
This Pulitzer prize-winning drama about forgiveness, redemption, and family is directed by Meg DeBoard and runs from March 23 through April 24.
“This is a beautiful and moving story that focuses on letting go of past pains, reaching out to each other in times of great need, and the nurturing of human relationships,” says Cygnet Theatre Artistic Director Sean Murray. “These characters are all striving to improve their lives and rely on each other for support in the sometimes difficult challenges that stand in our way to happiness and meaning.”
Somewhere in Philadelphia, Elliot has returned from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world. Somewhere in a chat room, recovering addicts keep each other alive, hour by hour, day by day. The boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace as birth families splinter and online families collide. This stirring drama is a healing and heartfelt meditation on lives on the brink of redemption.
“Water by the Spoonful” is the second in the set of stand-alone plays known as “The Elliot Trilogies” which follow the trajectory of Elliot Ortiz, a Puerto Rican Marine veteran from Philadelphia, and was inspired by the playwright’s own childhood growing up in the same city. The first in the trilogy, “Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue,” follows the character as he returns home from serving in Iraq and confronts the high price of war. The third and final play, “The Happiest Song Plays Last,” explores both Elliot and his cousin Yazmin’s search for love, meaning, and a sense of hope in a quickly changing world.
Directing for the first time at Cygnet Theatre, but not new to its creative history in the role of Assistant Director, is Meg DeBoard. DeBoard is Director of Theatre at Point Loma Nazarene University and holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from the University of Essex in London. She recently completed the 2021 Directing Fellowship at The Old Globe. Her directing credits include “Spring Awakening” (Grossmont College), “Dancing Lessons” (Scripps Ranch Theatre/Oceanside Theatre Company co-pro) “Failure: A Love Story,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “Into the Woods,” “Little Women,” “And Then They Came For Me” (Point Loma Nazarene University).
“Meg DeBoard has demonstrated herself to be an empathetic, smart director,” Murray said. “She has worked on many Cygnet shows over the years as an insightful and astute assistant director and has successfully made the transition to directing her own shows. Her vision for the gorgeous Water by the Spoonful is a perfect match for this play.”
“Creating community and connection to both biological family and found-family is the heartbeat of Hudes’ story,” Meg DeBoard said. “Performing this right at the two-year anniversary of COVID-19, this play from 2012 feels fresh, as it drives at what we’ve been experiencing – both that virtual connections can be lifesavers, while we also crave human, in-person connection.”
Joining DeBoard on this artistic journey of redemption and meaning is a combination of new and returning artists. Back on the Cygnet Stage is Steven Lone (The Virgin Trial) as Elliot Ortiz and Bryan Barbarin (Man of La Mancha) as Clayton “Buddy” Wilkie aka Chutes & Ladders. The cast making their Cygnet debuts include Catalina Maynard as Odessa Ortiz aka Haikumom, Kaivan Ameen Mohsenzadeh as Professor Aman/Ghost/Policeman, and Emily Song Tyler as Madeliene Mays aka Orangutan. Real-life married couple Christian Haines as John aka Fountainhead, and Melissa Ortiz as Elliot’s cousin Yazmin Ortiz round out the cast.
Cygnet Theatre has featured a creative team made up largely of female designers. The complete team includes costume design by Danita Lee, set design by Yi-Chien Lee, lighting design by Minjoo Kim, sound design by MaeAnn Ross, and properties design by Val Philyaw. Stage Manager is Hannah May and Assistant Stage Manager is Danielle Dudley. Assistant Director is Jill Jones. Projection design is by Blake McCarty.
“As someone who has often been the only woman on an artistic team, it’s very encouraging and exciting (and purposeful!) to be working in the company of strong, creative and collaborative women. I have yet to see this ratio of women to men in any other show I’ve worked on professionally in San Diego,” DeBoard said.
Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street in San Diego Old Town Historic State Park, by calling (619) 337-1525, or by visiting www.cygnettheatre.com.
All patrons must adhere to Cygnet Theatre’s Health and Safety protocol. Patrons must provide a photo ID along with their COVID-19 vaccination card (digitally or physically). To be considered fully vaccinated, the final dose date must be 14 days prior to the show date. For those who are not vaccinated (regardless of age) Cygnet will require proof of a negative Coronavirus PCR Test dated within 72-hours of your performance. Vaccinated patrons will not be required to wear a mask inside the theatre. State guidelines still require that unvaccinated individuals wear masks indoors, so until that restriction is lifted, it will remain part of the COVID policy. Cygnet does encourage the use of a mask for those who still prefer it.