APPETITE conceived and directed by Sarah Sanford, created and performed by Claire Calnan, Adam Lazarus and Linnea Swan. Presented by the Exchange Rate Collective at the Factory Studio. Aug 3 at 10:30 pm, Aug 4 at 9 pm, Aug 7 at 7:30 pm, Aug 10 at 6 pm, Aug 11 at noon, Aug 12 at 9 pm. Rating: NNNNN
Do you have an appetite for non- traditional theatre? Then check out a play called, appropriately enough, Appetite .
That's the intriguing title of a multidisciplinarily piece by a group whose eclectic members include frequent Theatre Smith-Gilmour performer Claire Calnan , bouffon king Adam Lazarus and former Dancemakers company member Linnea Swan .
All three have worked individually with U.S. director Sarah Sanford , of the acclaimed physical theatre company Pig Iron. Despite their dissimilar resumés, Sanford thought they'd gel as a team.
"We're all out of our comfort zones in some way," says Calnan. "There are bruises on my body and I have no idea where they came from."
"I've had to hold back some of my clown instincts," adds Lazarus.
"And I think I have the most lines of dialogue," says dancer Swan.
Sanford's inspiration for the piece was her realization that at some point in all her relationships she became disgusted by seeing her lover eat food. The three performers took part in improvisatory workshops and free-associated with appetite-related imagery.
They came up with a loose narrative built around a slaughterhouse worker (Swan) who has fantasies about a couple (Lazarus and Calnan).
"The factory is a strong symbol of the over-processing of food and our disassociation with what ends up on our dinner plates," says Calnan. "We thought it'd be interesting to look at the people who work in these highly structured environments where they kill things over and over again."
Also included are depictions of eating competitions, which have become an American sport, complete with halter-top-wearing placard-wavers.
There'll be some onstage food involved but not to worry, no animals will be slaughtered. And don't expect things to be completely literal.
"It's a little Mulholland Drive," teases Lazarus. "You can get it and it's entertaining, but there are different angles to it. I love having an audience walk away using their own imaginations to discover what it's about."
The company hopes to remount and further develop the work in the States. And they've enjoyed the collective creation experience, especially because there's been a director involved.
"I'm glad there's an outside eye," says Calnan. "I'm not a fan of collective theatre where there's a democratic voting process in terms of what stays and goes. It's important to have someone who can say, "This isn't working; we need to reshape this.' You fight for the things you believe are important but learn not to be precious."
Lazarus agrees, but says he's a little upset about one cannibalism scene set to a song that didn't fit into the show's arc.
"I'm hoping to perform it while the audience leaves," he says.