One Sunday matinée of Milk-n-Honey + One Monday night Foundry Theatre Free-Range Thanksgiving = Whoa! Amazing!
Sunday was the final day in the inaugural run of Milk-n-Honey, a multimedia theater piece put on by LightBox at 3-Legged Dog Theater. After interviews with eaters, chefs, pickers, doctors, food scientists, dumpster divers, farmers, and more, they came up with a series of short vignettes following a collection of stories about how food affects all these people.
Two supermarket clerks crushing on each other figure out if going on dumpster diving, urban foraging dates are romantic or gross. After regaining his taste buds from a jellyfish sting, a flavor scientist searches for the elusive flavor of light. A Mexican man takes a new job in America as a picker, trying to make the money to send back to his family while coming to terms with what it means to be living in the United States illegally. A sugar fiend gets diagnosed with diabetes, and tries to learn to navigate the supermarket without going into diabetic shock.
These stories were told in a dynamic, mobile set – supermarket shelves on wheels were whirled around to create evocative spaces. A camera mounted to a supermarket cart added a degree of meta-awareness to a scene unfolding directly in front of you.
Ten playwrights had been commissioned to write short plays for the event, and each of them, paired with a director, were charged with turning a dinner table of strangers into the stars of the premiere of their new work.
Each table was named for one of the plays, and sitting at “And Only Now Is It As Clear As It Has Ever Been,” I was not sure what was coming for me from award-winning playwright Carl Hancock Rux. What I was sure of was that I should take advantage of the copious amounts of free NYS wine that were provided, and get a little smashed. That was the whole idea of the event! Get everyone smashed and acting. A high school drama geek’s wildest fantasy.
When combined with a surprising and seasonal menu prepared by Chef Eric Hunter with food from Golden Earthworm Organic Farm and Roxbury Farm, and an audience made up of writers, actors, directors, and food activists, it was an exciting and totally original night.
I learned that I like Lily Flower, a pickled-tasted bundle of petals added to the salad varietals and doused with grapefruit-lemon thyme vinaigrette. To describe the savory back-of-tongue feelings from the miso-marinated local greens I drew back on the Milk-n-Honey flavor scientists’ explanation of the way our tongues and noses decipher tastes and memories. The dessert, homemade gingerbread with poached apple-rosemary sauce, was as delicious as it sounded, and possibly even more so at ten minutes to midnight and some number of bottles of wine in, as it was served.
So, congratulations to LightBox and The Foundry Theatre! These were fantastic and innovative events, and completely proactive at involving people from many and varied experiences with food, eating, living, and performing.