On 19 April 2013 we put on the third performance of the Our Food play in London. Amy Mycock and Nicole Kenton report back from the St James Theatre.
Nicole Kenton writes:
The latest performance in the eighteen months of community engagement, involving two theatre performances led to a final “scene” at St. James Theatre in London on 19 April 2013. The play was well-attended by a lively audience who participated throughout. This performance focused on the global and multicultural aspects of food. The cast members were of Caribbean ethno-cultural heritage, and as director, Patricia Cumper, explained to me afterwards, there had been animated discussions around race and cultural diversity during rehearsals. Drawing on the previous performances and through collaboration with Jasber Singh and Tom Wakeford, the actors used their memories connected with food to inform the first part of the play. They evoked the rituals, the aromas and the noises coming from the kitchen whilst their mothers and grandmothers cooked, sharing tips and recipes from their childhood, and the satisfied silence as the family enjoyed the meal.
ChriS JaM, the performance-poet, who has been involved in the Our Food project since the outset, introduced the second part of the show – “Food Fights” – a game show where the audience voted for the speaker with whom they most identified. The actors represented one who had lost a family member through a farmer suicide, the CEO of a multinational corporation, one standing up for food justice and one who empathised, along with the audience, with the one billion people going hungry every day. Watch a rough-cut video of Food Play for the winner! Chris rounded off the show with an outstanding rendition of his poem Yabba Foods. The audience were then invited to discuss their ideas about Act II of the project.
Amy Mycock says:
Marian, Maureen and Angela, who have been involved in the project from the start, travelled down from Gateshead and sat in the front row at the Our Food performance.
The Our Food film was shown first, in which the three were filmed cooking up ready meals and comparing them with meals cooked from scratch. Next up the actors took to the stage, with contrasting scenarios involving families, farmers and GM scientists – illustrating the competing voices in the global food debate. The actors also portrayed the power of businesses, and the accusations against unethical, purely profit driven food enterprise.
The ladies from Gateshead then joined in conversation with members of the audience over lunch, connecting up how issues surrounding food matter to us all, and looking to what needs to happen next, particularly to resolve the decline in the ability of young people to cook.