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  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    The Agony of the Soldier Returned from the Wars

    Water by the Spoonful Second Stage Theater 305 W. 43rd Street New York, N.Y.Elliot, a hulking war vet, has been back from Iraq for two years. He's still trying to find himself as he struggles to rejoin his deeply dysfunctional and drug addicted family in Philadelphia. He faces many of the same problems that vets faced coming home from Vietnam, Korea, all the way back to the American Revolution. He served his country honorably, but suffered physically and mentally. He arrived back a hero, but not to a hero’s welcome.Elliot is the centerpiece of Water by the Spoonful, the new play by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the author of the successful In the Heights. It's a confusing play that rambles through act one in fits and starts, and long stretches of boredom, before finding its way in the middle of act two. That;s is when Elliot lets down his warrior macho and emotional shield. That is when we see the torment he has lived through in Iraq. He was wounded several times and became addicted to pain killers during his recovery. He also has nightmares about the first man he killed in Iraq -- the man’s ghost keeps getting off the ground to struggle with him.

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