Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Error
  • JUser::_load: Unable to load user with id: 251
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 11:23

Upstream bites more than they can chew with Cooking with Elisa

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

Upstream bites more than they can chew with Cooking with Elisa
www.upstreamtheatre.org

Several area theatre companies are staging works by acclaimed playwrights to illuminate the turbulence of today's political climate. While some author's reference current events to push an agenda or present alternate points of view; others, such as Argentina's Lucia Laragione, weave political overtones within more fanciful contexts to raise awareness of historical events and social injustices.

With the U.S. premier of Laragione's award winning play, Cooking with Elisa, Upstream Theatre Company is charged with delivering the author's response to a violent period in Argentina's history known as the "Dirty War," where thousands of students, activists, journalists, among others considered to be "left wing," were killed or disappeared between 1976 and 1983. Although Upstream succeeds in creating the ominous look and feel of the play, director Bonnie Taylor and her cast fall a bit short in executing a well-balanced and hearty production.

The play's most savory ingredient is undoubtedly the set, designed by Scott C. Neale. Neal creates a rustic, beautifully layered kitchen decorated from floor to ceiling with the necessary accoutrements of a well seasoned chef. His attention to detail offers a wealth of opportunities for actresses Shanara Gabrielle and Jane Paradise to add depth and dimension to their how to write essay performances. Unfortunately, neither actress takes full advantage of the backdrop Neal creates, and as a result, misses out on opportunities to round out their performances.

As the sociopathic chef de maison Nicole, actress Jane Paradise seemingly focuses her character in such a dark and disturbed place that seldom is she able to pull out of that darkness and reveal her character's vulnerability. Although excellent at portraying the manic side of her character, Paradise is not as successful at layering in softer, more subtle moments that could have made the play's finale less predictable.

Playing opposite Paradise is Shanara Gabrielle, who in the midst of her counterpart's thunderous performance is able to remain strong and steady in her role as Elisa, the young migrant laborer sent to work under Chef Nicole. While Gabrielle delivers a palatable performance, she neglects to provide her character with a youthful naiveté during the first half of the play. Had she done so, Gabrielle would have given her character a stronger build leading up to the play's dark finale.

Perhaps much is lost in the English translation of Lucia Laragione's work, or perhaps Director Bonnie Taylor is unable to provide a sense of time and place that makes both origin and destination of the characters clear. In fact, any historical or political references intended by the author are dissolved by the lack of markers that would allow for such discovery. Failure to provide a strong point of reference, coupled with missed performance opportunities is ultimately why Upstream is unable to deliver a thought-provoking piece of theatre with Cooking with Elisa.

You can catch remaining performances of Upstream Theater Company's Cooking with Elisa at the Kranzberg Arts Center through January 23rd. For tickets and information you may visit them on the web at www.upstreamtheatre.org.

Additional Info

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

May
Friday
22

STL Square Dance - May

Folk School of KDHX hosts monthly square dances at the The Stage in Grand Center. The Stage is located at 3524 Washington Ave and provides the perfect space for the Square Dance Revolution! No partner necessary or...


May
Saturday
23

Brunch at the Stage: The Bottlesnakes

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


May
Thursday
28

KDHX Discovery Series: Soul-Jazz and its Resurgence with Andy Coco

This multimedia session led by KDHX DJ Andy Coco of The Rhythm Section, explores the invention of the soul-jazz genre, its influence, and its contemporary resurgence. With live music from The Provels.   The Discovery...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

1 user and 14211 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook