Water by the Spoonful


Quiara Alegría Hughes

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Water by the Spoonful Characters

Elliot Ortiz

The protagonist of the play. Elliot is Yaz’s cousin, Odessa’s biological son, and Mami Ginny’s adopted son. He is a 24-year-old, Puerto Rican, wounded Iraq War veteran who lives in North Philadelphia… read analysis of Elliot Ortiz

Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz

Yaz is Elliot’s cousin, Odessa and Mami Ginny’s niece, and William’s ex-wife. She is 29 years old, a music composer, and a professor at the prestigious Swarthmore College. Although Yaz was born… read analysis of Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz

Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz

Odessa is Elliot’s biological mom, though she is only 39. She is also Yaz’s aunt and Mami Ginny’s sister. Odessa is a North Philadelphia custodian who isolates herself from most of the… read analysis of Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz

Fountainhead / John

Fountainhead is the newest member of the recovery forum, a once-wealthy entrepreneur and family man. When Fountainhead first introduces himself to the other members, he trips over his own ego and treats his crack addiction… read analysis of Fountainhead / John

Orangutan / Madeleine Mays

Orangutan is a member of the recovery forum, a 31-year-old Japanese American woman who has recently moved to Japan to teach English. Orangutan is fundamentally a passive individual—a self-described “looker,” rather than a participant in… read analysis of Orangutan / Madeleine Mays
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Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie

Chutes&Ladders is a member of the crack recovery forum that Haikumom, Fountainhead, and Orangutan also frequent. He is a 56-year-old IRS worker living in San Diego. Chutes&Ladders appears to have had the longest… read analysis of Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie

Mami Ginny

Mami Ginny is Elliot’s aunt and Odessa’s sister, though she raises Elliot as her own son and Elliot thus considers her to be his real mom. Mami Ginny never appears onstage, dying of… read analysis of Mami Ginny


William is Yaz’s white, bland ex-husband who has recently divorced her simply because he realized he no longer felt any love for her. William is never represented on-stage, but only spoken of to demonstrate… read analysis of William
Minor Characters
Professor Aman
Professor Aman teaches at Swarthmore College, where Yaz works, and is present in the first scene only to translate the Arabic phrase for Elliot.