ARTS BRIEF: The Filet's The Thing!
Dinner followed by a night at the theatre? Why not combine the two, asks Marlo Hunter, artistic director of Eating Their Words. In a city that delights in cross-pollinated art forms, Hunter believes that gastronomes and theatre lovers alike can indulge in delicacies not found elsewhere.
I really wanted to see what would happen when you put chefs and playwrights together, she explains. Theres an inherent theatricality to dining out. Its very similar to a productionthe mechanics are hidden to make the magic happen.
The recipe? Take a few stellar playwrightsestablished theatre darlings or the greenmarkets freshest new talentand have them collaborate on a theme with one of the citys finest chefs. The result is a 20-minute work from each playwright, which in turn inspires the chef to concoct a similarly styled menu.
Not only can diners relish a meal informed by a few robust world premieres, theyll also be able to savor the flavors with the playwrights at their tables. Indeed, the groups Sept. 16 event features the combined talents of Neil LaBute, Brooke Berman, Steven Levenson and Countrys Chef Willis Loughhead, with Lawless Cuisine as the featured motif.
But vegans beware: Hunter emphasizes how the art will not be simmered down according to preference. I treat the chef as an artist, she says. You cant go to a play and ask that you skip four scenes for your viewing pleasure. To me the story and the meal are one and the same.
Having worked as a director and choreographer in New York for nine years, Hunter says shes keen to introduce playwrights such as David Lindsay-Abaire, Douglas Carter Beane and Paul Rudnick into the mix, with the concept allowing her the chance to realize select ambitions rather quickly.
As a theatre director who directs new work, Ive always wanted to work with exciting playwrights, she says. But I didnt want to wait years. I wanted to work with them now!