Opening Night: Water by the Spoonful

(Photo via NPR) Armando Riesco's character Elliot was inspired by Hudes' cousin, also named Elliot. Riesco has played Elliot throughout the trilogy. He's pictured above in Water by the Spoonful with Zabryna Guevara, who plays Yazmin Ortiz.
(Photo via NPR) Armando Riesco’s character Elliot was inspired by Hudes’ cousin, also named Elliot. Riesco has played Elliot throughout the trilogy. He’s pictured above in Water by the Spoonful with Zabryna Guevara, who plays Yazmin Ortiz.

I’m really excited to be attending the opening night of Water by the Spoonful, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Quiara Alegria Hudes, tonight. Hudes is a Philadelphia native of Jewish and Puerto Rican descent.

As reported on NPR’s Morning Edition:

Water by the Spoonful is the second play in a trilogy featuring a character named Elliot, an injured Iraq war veteran who has returned to his home in North Philadelphia. Elliot is based on Hudes’ cousin, also named Elliot. She says she went to visit him on a military base shortly after he returned from Iraq.

“I just remember the instant I saw him, there was just something changed in his eye,” Hudes says. “You know, he was still absolutely the same young clown of a cousin I had always known and had grown up with, loving, but there was something different. And I felt that I might never understand it. And that’s the simple spark that it came from.”

As Hudes began writing about Elliot’s experiences, she says she noticed there were more and more young people in uniform showing up in Elliot’s Latino neighborhood in North Philadelphia. She thought to herself: “It’s not just Elliot’s story. This is going to be the story of a generation.”

Read the rest of Morning Edition’s report, or listen to the audio segment, here.

Buy tickets to Water by the Spoonful here.

We’ve got to do better for U.S. Veterans

A car bomb in Iraq in May 2007 left Ben Richards, then a captain, with a severe concussion. A second concussion left him with debilitating injuries. (Photo by Ben Richards)

War Wounds

By 

IT would be so much easier, Maj. Ben Richards says, if he had just lost a leg in Iraq.

Instead, he finds himself losing his mind, or at least a part of it. And if you want to understand how America is failing its soldiers and veterans, honoring them with lip service and ceremonies but breaking faith with them on all that matters most, listen to the story of Major Richards.

Read more of Nick Kristof’s heartbreaking piece here.