If music be the food of love, then perhaps theater is nutrition for the soul. New York’s WorkShop Theater, under the artistic direction of Thomas Coté, has laid out a buffet of six short plays related to food.
À LA CARTE: A FEAST OF NEW PLAYS at the WorkShop Theater
312 West 36th Street, Fourth Floor East, New York, NY 10018 (between 8th and 9th Avenues, on the south/downtown side of the street, a.k.a The Theatre Building)
I asked the playwrights and director to share their secret ingredients in this platter of
Mary Ruth Baggot and Susan Izott* in ‘Eat Dessert First,’ one of the plays in A LA CARTE at the WorkShop Theater. (Photo: Gerry Goodstein)
“Food is woven into our childhoods, holidays, romances, tragedies, religions,” said artistic associate and project dramaturg Laura Hirschberg, who is also one of the playwrights. “It’s a great jumping-off point…
BOTTOM LINE: Our highest recommendation! The most exciting new work of the Off-Broadway season. Six brilliant short plays by superb writers, performed by a stunningly talented cast and superbly orchestrated by a masterful director. A must for enterprising theater-goers!
Everyone in New York these days is one of another kind of foodie! So this brilliantly-conceived evening brings us six portrayals of people who relate variously to victuals: to eat or be eaten, to cook for Pussy Riot or to get pregnant, and to make contact with your deceased Mom or to find out if you’re gay.
Among the array of finely etched characters you’ll get to know an AWOL solider who haunts the Port Authority, a guy who wakes up to find himself inside Leviathan with an angel, Jesus Christ (who’s really pissed of at the lousy YELP review he’s gotten for his loaves and fishes – “the fish was…dry”), and others that range from the deeply moving to the farcically hilarious.
The entire ensemble is astonishingly talented. Outstanding were Tess Frazer and Joe Boover as the young troubled pair who work out their fates together in the Port Authority;
Robert Bruce McIntosh and Desiree Matthews as a couple who bring down the house when they open their opus completely covered in bedsheets, trying to follow the instructions in a manual on how to conceive; Cody Keown and Joe Boover (he’s one of several actors who do double duty) in a gay escapade involving popcorn; C. K. Allen and Lauren Riddle as a would-be suicide and his rescuer; Allen again, together with Bob Manus as Jesus, in a Biblical send-up; and Susan Izatt and Mary Ruth Baggott in the poignant memory-play finale.
Please, WorkShop Company: Let’s have a another half-dozen courses from this delectable menu.
TIPS: Speaking of eating, a “find” for your pre-theater dinner is Stella 34 Trattoria implausibly ensconced in Macy’s on the 6th floor. Also, to add to your enjoyment of the evening, check out the 2-minute video interviews with the director and some of the performers, on the WorkShop website (www.workshoptheater.org).