Water by the Spoonful


Quiara Alegría Hughes

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theatre Communications Group edition of Water by the Spoonful published in 2017.
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Scene One Quotes

YAZ: You wanna be my witness?

ELLIOT: To What?

YAZ: My now-legal failure. I’m divorced.

ELLIOT: Yaz. I don’t want to hear that.

YAZ: You’ve been saying that for months and I’ve been keeping my mouth closed. I just need a John Hancock.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), William
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Two Quotes

ORANGUTAN: The ocean reminds me of Maine. Cold water, very quiet, fisherman, boats, the breeze. I wouldn’t try swimming. I was never one to actually have an experience.

Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Three Quotes

YAZ: […] The ugliness bore no promise of a happy ending. The ugliness became an end in itself. Coltrane democratized the notes. He said, they’re all equal. Freedom. It was called Free Jazz but freedom is a hard thing to express musically with spinning into noise.

Related Characters: Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker)
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Four Quotes

HAIKUMOM: So unless someone gets that desperate they don’t deserve our noble company? “Suffer like me, or you ain’t legit?”

ORANGUTAN: Haikumom’s growing claws.

HAIKUMOM: Just don’t act entitled because you got so low.

Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Five Quotes

ELLIOT: All those have carnations. I don’t want a carnation within a block of the church.

YAZ: You told me to eliminate seven. I eliminated seven. Close your eyes and point.

ELLIOT: Am I a particularly demanding person?

YAZ: Yes. What’s so wrong with a carnation?

ELLIOT: You know what a carnation says to the world? That they were out of roses at the 7-Eleven.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Mami Ginny
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

YAZ: […] You know, [William’s] been to four funerals in the Ortiz clan and I could feel it, there was a part of him, under it all, that was disgusted. The open casket. The prayers.

ELLIOT: It is disgusting.

YAZ: Sitting in the pew knowing what freaks we are.

ELLIOT: He’s good people.

YAZ: I was probably at his side doing the same thing, thinking I’m removed, that I’m somehow different.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), William
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

YAZ: […] Look at that guy. Arranging his daisies like little treasures. What do you think it’s like to be him? To be normal?

ELLIOT: Normal? A hundred bucks says that dude has a closet full of animal porno at home.

YAZ: I bet in his family, funerals are rare occasions. I bet he’s never seen a cousin get arrested. Let alone one under the age of eighteen. I bet he never saw his eight-year-old cousin sipping rum through a twisty straw.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker)
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Six Quotes

ORANGUTAN: Everything in this country makes sense but me. The noodles in the soup makes sense. The woodpecker outside my window every evening? Completely logical. The girls getting out of school in their miniskirts and shy smiles? Perfectly natural. I’m floating. I’m a cloud. My existence is one sustained out-of-body experience. It doesn’t matter if I change my shoes, there’s not a pair I’ve ever been able to fill. I’m a baby in a basket on an endless river. Wherever I go I don’t make sense there.

Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

ORANGUTAN: Maybe we could hang out and have a relationship that has very little to do with crack or addiction or history. We could watch DVDs and microwave popcorn and take walks on the waterfront while we gossip about celebrities. It could be the land of the living.

CHUTES&LADDERS: Stay in the box. Keep things in their place. It’s a simple, effective recipe for ten clean years.

ORANGUTAN: Forget simple. I want a goddamn challenge.

Related Characters: Orangutan / Madeleine Mays (speaker), Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie (speaker)
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

CHUTES&LADDERS: Fine, when your son has a tummy-ache in the middle of the night and walks in on you tweaking and geeking just tell him, “Don’t worry, Junior, Daddy’s sucking on a glass dick […] but Daddy makes 300k and this is all a part of Daddy’s plan!”

FOUNTAINHEAD: I’M A FUCKING CRACKHEAD. […] Are you happy, Chutes&Ladders?

CHUTES&LADDERS: Absolutely not, my friend. I’m a crackhead, too, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Related Characters: Fountainhead / John (speaker), Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Seven Quotes

JOHN: I lied in my first post. I’ve been smoking crack for two years. I’ve tried quitting hundreds of times. Day two? Please, I’m in the seven-hundredth day of hell.

ODESSA: You got it out of your system. Most people lie at one time or another on the site. The good news is, two years in, there’s still time.

Related Characters: Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz (speaker), Fountainhead / John (speaker)
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Eight Quotes

ELLIOT: Let’s not act like this is some heroic sacrifice. Like this makes her the world’s martyr.

YAZ: We’re not going to get more than fifteen bucks for it.

ELLIOT: Symbols matter, Yaz. This isn’t about the money. This is shaking hands. This is tipping your hat. This is holding the door open. This is the bare minimum. The least effort possible to earn the label “person.”

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

YAZ: Why wouldn’t you ask me for help? Why would you deal with that alone?

ELLIOT: The opposite of alone. I seen barracks that looked like dope houses. It was four months in my life, it’s over. We’ve chopped up a lot of shit together, Yaz, but we ain’t gonna chop this up. This shit stays in the vault. You got me?

YAZ: No!

ELLIOT: Yaz. Please. Please.

Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Nine Quotes

CHUTES&LADDERS: Live in the past, follow your ass.

ORANGUTAN: Don’t you have the slightest ambition?

CHUTES&LADDERS: Yes, and I achieve it every day: Don’t use and don’t hurt anyone. Two things I used to do on a daily basis. I don’t do them anymore. Done. Dream realized. No more dreaming.

Related Characters: Orangutan / Madeleine Mays (speaker), Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

ORANGUTAN: You mean, gasp, I’ll actually FEEL something?

CHUTES&LADDERS: What are you going to do if the address is wrong? What if the building’s been bulldozed? What if some other tenant lives there? What if the woman who gave you birth then gave you away answers the door?

ORANGUTAN: I DON’T KNOW! A concept you clearly avoid at all costs. Learn how to live, that’s all I’m goddamn trying to do!

Related Characters: Orangutan / Madeleine Mays (speaker), Chutes&Ladders / Clayton Wilkie (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Twelve Quotes

ELLIOT: Titi, Odessa fucking OD’d and she’s dying on her living room floor and I can’t take this anymore! COME GET US before I walk off and leave her on the sofa.

YAZ: If you need to, go. No guilt. I got this.

ELLIOT: She’s my mom. Can I be angry? Can you let me be angry?

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Thirteen Quotes

CHUTES&LADDERS: Why are you there? Were you using with her?


CHUTES&LADDERS: Did you sell her the stuff?

FOUNTAINHEAD: No, Jesus, of course not. She gave them my number. I’m her emergency contact. Why, I have no idea, we’re practically strangers.

Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Fourteen Quotes

YAZ: […] I wrote a list [of achievements] on a piece of paper and dug a hole in Fairmount Park and put it in the ground and said, “When I turn thirty, I’ll dig it up and cross it all off.” And I promise you I’ll never have the courage to go to that spot with a shovel and face my list full of crumbs, decoys, and bandaids.

Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Fifteen Quotes

CHUTES&LADDERS: I got sick on the flight. Totally embarrassing. I had a panic attack as the plane landed and I started tossing into the doggy bag right next to this nice old lady. I’ve been sitting on the bathroom floor emptying my stomach. Then I had to find a toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash because I didn’t want to greet you with bad breath and all.

Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

ELLIOT: I wanted Mami Odessa to relapse, Yaz. I wanted her to pick up that needle. I knew precisely what to do, what buttons to push, I engineered that shit, I might as well have pushed the thing into her vein. Because I thought, Why would God take the good one? Yo, take the bad mom instead! I was like, Why wouldn’t you take the bad fucking mom? If I stay in Philly, I’m gonna turn into it. I’m gonna become one of them. I’m already hallway there. You’ve got armor, you’ve got ideas, but I don’t.

YAZ: Go. Go and don’t you ever, ever look back.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Haikumom / Odessa Ortiz
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

YAZ: I’m the elder now. I stay home. I hold down the fort.

Related Characters: Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Elliot Ortiz, Mami Ginny
Related Symbols: Yaz’s Piano
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.