While performers soared on silks, flipped on tables, scaled poles and danced with utensils around the kitchen, the faint scent of banana bread greeted the nose.
Usually this level of action would be too much for an audience member to handle, a true sensory over load devoid of meaning. However, on Tuesday, April 12th at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the cast of “Cuisine and Confessions” drew the captivated audience into the familiar hustle and bustle of a kitchen, with a few dramatic upgrades.
The 7 Fingers collective took potent memories of their cast members in the kitchen and transformed them into a full evening of storytelling. As the creators put it, “as individuals, we are ourselves composed of ingredients, a unique recipe of blood memories.” Throughout the show all of the nine cast members were featured to express their associations of food, family and cooking using their particular acrobatic skill while other performers cooked the food on stage!
The predominantly international cast brought an incredible amount of personality and flare to each of their acts. Matias Plaul accomplished daring feats from a Chinese poll while pondering what his father’s last meal was before he was executed for being a communist sympathizer in Argentina. While performers Melvin Diggs and Sidney Bateman soared and partnered through wooden frames, they reflected on fatherless Sunday breakfasts in St. Louis. There was a notable element of whimsy to the show as well. The inclusion of moments of embarrassment and play made for a meaningful juxtaposition of lightheartedness with melancholy and grief.
The true success of the evening was in the choreographers (or collaborators in this case) ability to seamlessly weave spoken dialogue, theater, dance, acrobatics, moving props, original music, and live cooking into one production. The immaculate transitions designed by co-creators Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila were one of the most satisfying elements of the show.
This Montreal-based collective presented story-telling at its best. These performers were not only incredibly multi-talented artists it also felt like they were just being themselves; a wonderful thought to walk away from the theater with.