Review On The Solid Life of Sugar Water

Eric A Gordon

Registered Critic

Much as I might like to agree that DWT is “the perfect company,” I am not so sure the trans-Atlantic and trans-ability transformation of Thorne’s play entirely works. The relationship between a hearing and a Deaf person is inherently different from one between two hearing or two Deaf persons. I don’t mean emotionally, for disability of almost any kind still allows for a full range of human responses. But technical details of negotiating the differences are reflected in the text itself, which doesn’t match up with what we are seeing and hearing. Phil’s character, in particular, is the problematic one. There are residues in the script of Phil struggling to communicate with the Deaf Alice—he calls himself a good lipreader, for example, and he chooses an LP recording to play at Alice’s apartment on their first sex date. So one can only wonder how he could become so quickly and so competently expressive in ASL until we realize, oh, yeah, in this production, he’s supposed to be Deaf, too.

Eric A. Gordon, writes for People's World ( He has written for dozens of local, national, and international publications, mostly about art, music, culture, religion and politics. His undergraduate degree is from Yale and his doctorate in history is from Tulane. He was director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring in Southern California from 1995 to 2010. Eric is the author of "Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein," and co-author of "Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson." A book he translated from Portuguese ("Waving to the Train and Other Stories," by Hadasa Cytrynowicz) appeared in 2013. In 2015 he executive produced "City of the Future," a CD of Soviet Yiddish music from the 1930s. He is the former Southern California Chapter Chair of the National Writers Union (Local 1981 UAW/AFL-CIO).