January 8. 2020
Food and the need to eat is universal and a common denominator. As Maya Angelou put it so eloquently, the exercise of eating is of intimate nature in that it is very sensual – by inviting someone to sit at your table and cooking for them, you are basically inviting a person into your life.
Needless to say that the sentiment is amplified in different cultures, with each occasion, dish and course having its idiosyncratic role and significance, providing fertile ground for memories to be created.
Curated and brought on stage by the Contemporary Asian Australian Performance (CAAP), a total of five protagonists from different walks of life share stories around the dishes they are preparing, which allowing the audience a glimpse into their very own history and the outlook on life it inspired.
Raghav Handa , Heather Jeong, Elizabeth Chong, Valerie Berry and Benjamin Law, all accomplished professionals in their respective disciplines – be it dance, journalism, entrepreneurship or hospitality – each guide us in their own idiosyncratic manner and their own quirkiness through tales which culminate in the dishes they are preparing as part of their performance being served to the audience, which is then consumed and seals each act. A well-thought out concept that effortlessly inspired conversations at each of the communal tables and led to anecdotes being shared about one’s own history and the significance of shared meals.
The idea was not to create a degustation or restaurant like experience but to create a tangible sensory experience that added another dimension to the evening and involved the audience in an engaging manner.
As with nearly everyone of his incarnations, no matter if printed or in the flesh, I immensely enjoyed the never not witty Benjamin Law holding court as well the dance choreography that Raghav Handa performed to frame his contribution, which added nuances to the evening,
As outlined in previous reviews about performances held at the third place Carriageworks, the venue and projection space it offered contributed greatly to an evening that provided a different theatre experience – one that nourished both the mind and the body.
photos courtesy of SYDFEST