“The Art of Dining,” Written by Tina Howe and Directed by Gloria Gifford.
Running from October 19 through December 8, Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7.30pm
6502 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 90038
Each time I see a play at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory, what I always come away with is a sense of adventure.
Gloria Gifford and her band of fearless actors take us on voyages of discovery, drama, hilarity and above all…fun.
“The Art of Dining” is set in the house of a couple who had the brilliant idea of starting a restaurant in their house. Hannah is the chef and Paul, her husband who gave up his successful job as an attorney, is the waiter. Within a few weeks of opening they have developed a remarkable reputation and have bookings for weeks ahead, but Paul wants to cash in while they can and pay off their business loan in record time, putting tremendous pressure on Hannah, who is alone in the kitchen. Paul handles the stress by eating everything in site and eventually something has to give.
The play is set in their home, in their kitchen and dining room and it centers around three tables of guests, each with their own very particular quirks and wonderfully rich personalities. A couple in love with food as much as each other. Three friends out for a birthday dinner, boisterous and gloriously bickery. A frazzled slightly nutty woman meeting a man she has never met before, she is a writer of short stories, many of which center around her own neurotic relationship with food.
These three tables, three stories blossom as Hannah and Paul fall apart. It’s a fascinating examination of power and lust and longing. Paul and Hannah long for success and freedom, the table of girls long for happy release, the couple long for more pleasure, the writer longs to be accepted and her editor companion longs for more of the delicious food.
It’s funny, bold and far from boring. It’s intense, full-on, powerful and steamy.
The performances are loud and big and furiously good. They take no prisoners, but then they never do at Gloria Gifford shows. She picks the best material, always pushing the boundaries and challenging the audience as well as the actors. This play is hilarious, the pace fast and the stakes are high, but the result of all this ‘crazy’ is sublime. The smells of the food Hannah cooks are delicious and real and the delight with which the guests imbue her offering absolutely mesmerizing.
“The Art of Dining” is another entertaining and unusual piece by a company that seems to revel in the bizarre and the gorgeously human…thank goodness!!! Bravo!
After the show there’s a complimentary gourmet spread for all!!
CAST: This production is double cast with understudies: Joey Marie Urbina, Kelly Musselwhite, Billy Budinich, Chris Jones, Chad Doreck, Danny Siegel, Lucy Walsh, Keturah Hamilton, Kasia Pilewicz, Sabrina Won, Haile D’Alan, Dan White, Leana Chavez, Jade Ramirez Warner, Irini Gerakas, Abigal Kochunas, Gloria Alvizar, Rosa Frausto, Christian Maltez, Justine Estrada, Nancy Vivar, Cynthia San Luis, Samiyah Swann, Amber Dancy, Benito Paje, Joe Filippone, Joshua Farmer, Keith Walker, Raven Bowens, Sam Mansour