THE ARTS ETC
bated breath theatre company
BY CHANTAL BILODEAU
HELENE KVALE, DIRECTOR
MUSIC COMPOSED BY NATHAN LEIGH
REAL ART WAYS
56 ARBOR STREET
HARTFORD CT 06106
CONTACT DAVID CIANO AT
PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES
Thurs. Sept. 22, 8 PM
Fri. Sept. 23, 8 PM
Sat. Sept. 24, 3 PM, 8 PM
Sun. Sept. 25, 3 PM
Fri. Sept. 30, 8 PM
Sat. Oct. 1, 3 PM, 8 PM
Sun. Oct. 2, 3 PM
FOR AGES 18 AND UP
There are two reviews of HUNGER
REVIEWED BY DEBRA TINKHAM
Helene Kvale, Director of Hunger, asks, “How does our relationship to food describe who we are as Americans today? Inspired by the collective experience of making profiteroles (a creamy puff pastry) in my friend’s tiny apartment, I outlined the main plot. Two women share the same man and the same recipe. One of them uses the recipe to seduce him, the other to kill him.”
As you enter the theatre, you are offered a glass of wine and then take a seat among the park benches around the perimeter of the room. Suddenly a “French-looking” gentleman approaches with a large mixing bowl and a whisk and asks if we would like to stir his creamy creation. We are complimented for our stirring style and then he moves on to his next patron and compliments them also on their very different stirring style. Next, a deliciously clad woman, who looks like she was poured into a chocolate dress, approaches us with the same culinary accouterments and we decline our stirring opportunity.
The French-looking gentleman and the deliciously clad woman poured into a chocolate dress then go to their work station and introduce themselves as Mr. Charles and Mrs. Christabelle deMarquet, played by David McCamish and Joni Weisfeld. We are given a history of the cocoa bean and told of attributes that make their chocolate so special. Trays and trays of their profiteroles are offered to all, and we must say, they were delicious.
We are thanked for joining them and as they leave, we are thinking we’re supposed to follow them into a softly lit room with Carol, or Maxine, or whatever her name is. She is seductively dancing with a ladder, pulling mirrors (little pieces of shiny paper) from the wall and pasting them onto her dress. She begs the audience to assist with her grooming to help her look beautiful.
It is then on to another dimly lit room with soft music playing. Here, Mr. and Mrs. are pushing their “Goldiva” chocolates. Mr. deMarquet asks us if we would like more upbeat music and do we ever get it. Much of the audience is staid and stoic but some of us got into it. To encourage some of the stuffed shirts, he said, “When I say green, start dancing; when I say red, freeze your position.” This limbered up many. Carol/Maxine roller skates onto the scene in hopes of getting “the recipe” from Mr. deMarquet. Mrs. is not happy and leaves. In the certainty that we are again supposed to follow her, we enter a stage where the plot of seduction unfolds.
The colors and costumes were symbolic and took some time to figure out. Mrs. is telling Carol how to crack the eggs for the profiterole recipe - a seductive image. Adding the sugar encompassed a woman-on-woman mixing and grinding of bodies. Slicing the butter was about as sexy and titillating as imaginable.
Mr. and Mrs. next have a caramel versus chocolate war. Mrs. says Carol, or is it Maxine, wants caramel and Mr. declares caramel will never cut the mustard – I mean chocolate. Mr. and Mrs. then do a seductive dance with a caramel colored cloth and a chocolate colored cloth. Mrs. says, “Real life recipes are dangerous,” and goes into another seductive dance with a chair. Yes, a chair.
Later, much later, Carol has marketed the deMarquet profiteroles into a donut, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. She asks for three volunteers to assist her in assembling her new creation. My guest was the chocolatier part of the trio. As we were leaving, we were again offered trays and trays of profiteroles.
The costumes were eclectic, the music was well chosen, lighting and scene changes well planned. The story was seductive, sad and unquestionably symbolic.
Donna Bailey Thompson
STRICKLY FROM HUNGER
For a fat thumbnail description of HUNGER, you can’t do better than Debra Tinkham’s review. She covers the scenes, cast, costumes, and the yummy profiteroles (otherwise known as mouth-size cream puffs).
HUNGER is not a formulaic play. Rather, it’s closer to a “happening.” This is due, in part, to scenes with moments of connection with the overall production, and other scenes that are independent of any association. At times, ambiguity torpedoes linkage with the headlines chosen to give audiences a clue to the meat of the performance – Sex. Greed. Chocolate.
The sex is suggested by hot kisses Charles deMarque (David McCamish) shares with his wife Christabelle deMarquet (Joni Weisfeld); and the greed by Carol/Maxine (Mara Lieberman) who is charged to wangle, somehow, the secret recipe of the successful deMarquet chocolate garnishes.
Charles, dashing in a beret, has become a successful “chocolatier” who takes pride in his work. [For a Wikipedia list of bean-to-bar creators, click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bean-to-bar_chocolate_manufacturers.] However, his pure chocolate thoughts are vulnerable to the suggestive wiles of Carol/Maxine and the keen displeasure of wife Christabelle.
There’s enough tension available to fashion a plot loaded with suspense that can intrigue an audience while simultaneously enhancing the stylized world of chocolatiers and the thieves who covet their turn at grabbing the brass ring.
In other words, a baker’s dozen of proven writers, technicians and performers are poised to polish HUNGER without compromising its organic vibes.