PRESS: Armando Batista stars in a play for all, inspired by Latinos
AL DÍA News
by Arturo Varela (Translated)
The play “Water by the Spoonful”, which earned Puerto Rican playwright from Philadelphia, Quiara Alegría Hudes, the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2012, is presented at the Arden Theatre in Old City from January 16th to March 16th.
In an interview with AL DÍA News, protagonist Armando Batista spoke about this play in which his character returns home to north Philadelphia to be with his Puerto Rican family after having served time in Iraq.
The principal character “Elliot” has to fight to forget upsetting experiences from the war. While his mother, a recovering drug addict also fights against her own demons.
They form part of a group of strangers in search of connection and rendition in this play that redefines the meaning of family, and far from a happy ending they wonder what comes next.
“It is a human story, about people who try to survive every day, and that encounter pain, guilt, and the demons of their actions,” said Batista. “The message is that you have to move forward and make the necessary decisions to get there.”
His character is pursued by his own conscience and by the memory of a man whose life he took in Iraq.
Just as Eliot served in the Marines, so too was Batista a part of the Armed Forces as a member of the Navy, from which he received an honorable discharge.
“I was not in combat, but I do know what it feels like to be in an alarming situation and of the effects of PTSD,” said Batista.
On another note, Batista studied at Temple University, and considers Philadelphia, where the play takes place, his second home.
“It is a story of our community, the Latino community of Philadelphia, depicted on stage,” said Batista. “For those who say there are no plays for us, this is that play.”
34 year-old Batista is an emerging artist and independent who has worked as a professional actor and theatre teacher since 2005, and has participated in various traditional and experimental theatre projects in New York and Philadelphia.
In addition to his participation in “Water by the Spoonful,” Batista continues his work on a project called “City Boy”, in which he plays a New Yorker who returns to the grand city in which he grew up.
He is also co-writing a piece about Juan Rodríguez, who was considered the first immigrant to New York in 1613, and who settled in what much later became Manhattan.
“Water by the Spoonful” is the second part of a trilogy that begins with “Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue”, and ends with “The Happiest Song Plays Last”, all written by Alegría Hudes, co-author of the award-winning libretto of “In the Heights”, the musical that won the Tony in 2008.