Lets start with your name, where you are from, and what brought you to SPACE?
I’m Sasha Eden. I’m from New York City. I grew up in Manhattan and live in Brooklyn. I am here with The Theatrical Culinary Project. I am an actor, a producer, and a co-conceiver of this piece.
Can you tell me a little bit about the piece?
The Theatrical Culinary Project came from a couple of different inspirations. In 2008, Marlo Hunter (co-founder of Culinary Project) had a site-specific company where she partnered with restaurants and playwrights, matching each writer with a course on a prix fixe menu, for one-night-only theatrical events. When I met Marlo in 2011, I was the artistic director of the not-for-profit company WET Productions (created to produce media that challenges female stereotypes and advocates for equality). I had been developing and producing new plays, events, and a media literacy and leadership program through WET since 1999 and had enjoyed building projects that brought artists from varied disciplines to collaborate on one production. I was also a long time viewer of Top Chef. The synergy between culinary and theater artists in Marlo’s work inspired my own creativity, and when she shared her dream with me to build a new play that was set in a “restaurant,” a venue where the audience dined on a meal and were submerged in the play itself, I was hooked. By 2013, we partnered with an amazing chef, Carla Hall, and, this past year, started working with three writers to create this immersive theatrical experience.
What is the next step for this piece?
When we leave SPACE, we start preparing for a workshop and presentation of the first draft of the work – plays and menu – we have developed thus far. Carla will prepare a four-course meal for a tiny audience who will hear three new plays that take place in this fictitious restaurant, for the first time. The audience is really there to help us with the immersive nature of this piece - we need to know how the audience impacts the structure of the play and meal itself. The relationship the work has with the audience is an important piece of this puzzle and will help answer dramaturgical questions that can lead us to the next steps of building the piece.
Where have you been spending most of your time working while at the Farm?
I’ve been working in different nooks and crannies. I was definitely in Kay Hall because it was so hot this week and there is air conditioning! I am such a city girl, who has had air conditioning growing up! I also liked sitting in the front room in The Sycamores, and then sitting outside. I had a meeting with Marlo and our dramaturg on the stage, and it was so beautiful and so open. It is a wonderful place to work, although, granted, I always love a stage. We were just sitting and talking and there was something very open about that area in particular.
If you could be any animal on the farm, what would you be and why?
That’s interesting… I think I would be one of the ducks with the fabulous hairdos! You know that one duck, and she’s got a real pompadour? I think she’s got a lot of style and is really bold. I would definitely want to be in her flip-floppy shoes.
Interviewed by Cameron Morton