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From:The Straits Timesposted on 23 May at 12:03 PM
23 May at 12:03 PM

Theatre: Eat while husband gets cooked

By Corrie Tan

Get your tummy filled while sating your theatrical senses at Skinned Knee Productions' latest outing - the morbidly titled The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband. But instead of eating the titular husband, the audience will be served a gourmet three-course meal at the Fine Palate cafe in Waterloo Street.

The intimate gastro-theatre affair, directed by Canada-born and Singapore permanent resident Rayann Condy, will run from June 5 to 7 and is limited to 30 patrons a night. It stars actors Crispian Chan, Julie Wee and Rosemary McGowan.

The dark comedy was written by British playwright Debbie Isitt and centres on a love triangle. Kenneth (Chan) leaves his stay-home wife and kitchen whiz Hilary (McGowan) for his younger lover, Laura (Wee), who is hopeless at cooking. He is caught in the crossfire between the two women.

Condy, 32, says: "It very much shows the traditional picture of womanhood versus the modern. It's also about the way that men connect to those gender roles and perhaps, sometimes, the expectations that we have in relationships turn out to be somewhat ridiculous."

One of the creative team's challenges has been figuring out how to incorporate the food into the theatrical event without making it feel like a disconnected "dinner theatre" event.

And in a country where food is so highly regarded, Condy hopes it will entice Singaporean foodies not familiar with the theatre to watch the show.

She says with a laugh: "I initially wanted only the performers to be involved in the food space. I wanted to use them for everything. And that was one of the things that, very quickly, the restaurant manager said, 'You've got how many actors and how many patrons?'"

So the kitchen and wait staff will be on hand to prepare and serve food as the show goes on.

Condy adds: "Everything is cooked and served fresh. So that's another thing we've been working on, the timing. We can tell the kitchen, okay, you've got 20 minutes between point A and point B, and that's where we want this ready. It's quite a dance of logistics to coordinate."

The audience will be able to pick options from a distilled version of the restaurant's dinner menu, which emphasises modern European cuisine with an Asian edge.

Condy had gone to Fine Palate for a friend's birthday party and discovered that an acquaintance was the restaurant manager. This is not the first time that her theatre company has done site-specific work. Skinned Knee Productions' previous offerings included a work staged at a beach on Sentosa and also in a conservation shophouse.

Having watched The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, which was first staged in the 1990s, Condy felt that the outlet would be the perfect setting for the show.

Chuckling, she says of the rehearsals: "We've been doing a lot of eating. There's also quite a lot of the characters drinking throughout the course of the piece, and the actors are very keen to do a run with real alcohol. I'm a little worried about that because I'd be the one carrying them home."

corriet@sph.com.sg

Book it

THE WOMAN WHO COOKED HER HUSBAND
Where:
Fine Palate, 51 Waterloo Street
When: June 5 to 7, 8pm
Admission: $85 from Skinned Knee Productions (go to www.skinnedkneeproductions.com)
Info: Mature themes and coarse language. Recommended for 16 years old and above

This article was first published in The Straits Times on May 21, 2013.

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