This is the blog post I wrote after having attended Disgestible Feats’s “Sweet Betrayal.” I wanted to post it here rather than on the Fusebox blog because I felt like I needed a brief prologue. This event was really spectacular, and it spoke to me deeply and on an intimate level. What most impressed me was how clearly I felt the narrative (I use “felt” quite intentionally) without the luxury of a clear narrative. Each part of the narrative was told through a different medium: food, physical props, the written word, images, etc.
I wanted to mention this fact and add this prologue because this post was written well before David Fruchter posted his full script over at the Fusebox blog. I formed my critical interpretation before I read his script. In my mind, this is quite important, as most of my critical interpretations were very close to Fruchter’s artistic intent, which says to me that Fruchter and his crew of merry artists were 100% successful. So without any further nonsense on my part, here’s:
“Sweet Betrayal” premiered at the Savage Vanguard Theater on the evening of the 27th. The brain-child of writer David Fructer, painter Kaci Danger, and pastry chef Jodi Elliott, “Sweet Betrayal” represents the very best of Digestible Feats. As a truly multi-modal artistic performance, “Sweet Betrayal” offered the festival goer a unique opportunity to truly experience the emotions of a passionate and explosive relationship.
Four tables had been arranged in the theater. Upon each table sat one of four individual and unique dishes. Place cards emblazoned with bits and pieces of a narrative adorned each of the tables, as well as other items that hinted at the nature of the relationship we were meant to unravel and experience.
The first table presented us with a pecan dessert nestled in a sweet, crumbly shell and topped with fresh whipped cream. The pecans tasted sweet and salty and reminded me of kissing the neck of a lover. But the shell of the dessert crumbled if held too firmly, and I wondered if that fragility hinted at darker things to come.
The next table held a lemon dessert that looked like lemon curd with medium-peaked whipped cream. I eagerly devoured it expecting to taste nothing but sweetness, but underneath the rich cream and sweetly tart lemon hid a sour vinaigrette that made my eyes water with desire.
The third table showcased bite-sized chocolate desserts. The chocolate looked to be covered in a fairly mundane and everyday ganache, but when tasted, the desserts revealed a much deeper and complex bitter flavor than I had initially expected. The rich coco and bitterness tasted like the dissonance that can only be felt by simultaneously hating and longing for a sexually unfaithful partner.
The fourth table revealed the most explosive food of all. We discovered a Phyllo pastry topped with a roasted tomato and finished with sautéed oyster mushrooms. Nothing sweet. All savory. A broken candelabrum served as a centerpiece. At table four, the sweet, but ultimately tumultuous, love of the relationship had finally run its course, and the salty behavior of the breakup had begun.
I’m continually amazed by Digestible Feats. As a writer (and I use that term loosely), I find it utterly fascinating how these culinary artists possess the ability to tell a story with taste, aroma, and touch. I struggle with normal, boring old words, which, so I’m told, are particularly well-suited to storytelling. Not only are these artists able to tell a story with little to no words at all, but the Digestible Feats artists do it so well that they put some of us traditional wordsmiths to shame.
A writer is limited by the very nature of the medium. I can describe breakups. I can try my best to tell you how I felt during a breakup, but all I have at my disposal are words on a page or a computer screen. But today at “Sweet Betrayal,” I experienced a narrative with all five senses. I literally felt like I had endured a breakup. I saw the physical damage of a violent fight, and I heard the background music that set the mood. I read the words on the place cards describing the emotions and hinting at a larger narrative. I smelled the longing and desire, and I tasted the sweetness of love and the bitterness of regret.
With each Digestible Feats event, I lose myself more and more in sensory experiences. I hope that by the end of the Festival, I’m able to find my way back.
Me again. That was the original post. A few final thoughts. I did have one negative criticism of the show. I was a little disappointed in the audience. Quite a few people were just floating from one table of food to another, hungrily devouring the food like they were at Golden Corral without ever trying to experience the emotions of the event. Bit disappointing, that. Let’s take a cue from Ferris, Festival-goers. Stop and look around once in a while, will ya?
Lastly, this show brought up emotions of past breakups that I really didn’t think still affected me. I found myself still emotional hours and hours after the show. As a bit of mind-catharsis, I re-watched Kinison’s “Wild Thing” video a couple of times. Hearing Sam scream “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WERE A DEMON FROM HELL?!?!” and “YOU DESERVE THE MEN YOU’RE GONNA MEET, YOU LOSER!!!” helped to bring me back to reality. Seeing Jessica Hahn writhe around in a sheer top didn’t hurt, either.