Monday, 16 May 2016

ThEATre at The Whitaker

The most memorable meal in theatre? Where eating is all part of the act…
ThEATre
Wednesday 25th May 2016
7.00 pm
Meal and Theatre £25 (early booking is highly recommended)
Whitaker Park, Haslingden Rd, Rawtenstall, Rossendale BB4 6RE
http://www.thewhitaker.org/


Prepare yourself for a unique evening of immersive theatre at Rossendale’s museum and gallery, The Whitaker.


‘ThEatre’ is set to be a show where food and theatre come together, literally; dine away whilst the drama unfolds around you. It’s a brand new work from writer and Actor Neil Bell: known for his work in shows like ‘The Bubbler’ as well as programmes like ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘Downton Abbey’. He’s written and performed around the Manchester area for more than 20 years too.


This certainly will be a meal like no other – turning the audience into participants for a piece of cultural and culinary art. Expect incredible acting, gripping drama, and thanks to The Whitaker’s talented chef: some stunning food too.


The intimate settings of The Whitaker suggest that this will be a close, personal and powerful experience. Your usual restaurant seating becomes a stage, your cutlery crucial, your plate part of the performance.


So if you want a dinner thriller, action with your appetizer, mystery with your main and drama with dessert: then don’t shy away!


Just in case you need anything else to work up an appetite for this unique event (I am already too tempted!) why not take some theatre food for thought…


Some of the most memorable meals in theatre

·         The chaos of cucumber sandwiches – The Importance of Being Earnest – Wilde’s iconic play
contains a number of instances of food and eating: with ‘cucumber sandwiches’ right at the beginning
Algernon.  Oh! there is no use speculating on that subject.  Divorces are made in Heaven—[Jack puts out his hand to take a sandwich.  Algernon at once interferes.]  Please don’t touch the cucumber sandwiches.  They are ordered specially for Aunt Augusta.  [Takes one and eats it.]
It is this brief exchange alone between the young male friends which shows food as a symbol of sensuality; provoking touch – as well as double-standards.


·         A badly-seasoned casserole – The Crucible – the tension in the marriage between John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth is evocatively revealed by a rabbit casserole, which ‘hurt her heart’ to prepare. This feature in Arthur Miller’s dramatic play,  not only suggests Elizabeth’s selflessness: she  is willing to go through pains to please her husband – but also foreshadows the dangers of lying within marriage (both conceptually and physically, concerning John’s adultery.) In his single symbolic gesture John lies to Elizabeth ‘it’s well seasoned’, though adding salt himself – and in that, emphasizes a marriage unpicked by mistruths, turning what is potentially nurturing, into something nasty.


·         Sampling sweet things– A Doll’s House -   In the first scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play ‘A Doll’s House’, we meet Nora, a mother of three who is married to Torvald Helmer: a condescending, cruel figure who frequently trivialises her. His patterns of trivialisation and control are often characterised through food – for example his  addressing of Nora in the third person in relation to macaroons:
Helmer. Hasn't she paid a visit to the confectioner's?
Nora. No, I assure you, Torvald—
Helmer. Not been nibbling sweets?
Nora. No, certainly not.
Helmer. Not even taken a bite at a macaroon or two?
Macaroons are banned according to Helmer, and here we gain a perspective on how a sweet little
symbol an actually be the source of such angst: perhaps like Nora herself,


·         Strawberries in Shakespeare – Richard III – The Earl of Gloucester is particularly partial to the ripe red fruits it seems, as he reflects ‘When I was left in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there. I do beseech you send for some of them.” Pass the cream.