Dinner theater provides food, merriment
The main course was savory. The dessert was delectable.
The candle spread a glow over the table as the house lights
went down, came back up, and the one act, For Whom the Southern Belle
Tolls, by Christopher Durang, began.
As the audience settled down and the glasses clinked with
ice, players entered from the rear doors. Having found their ways to the
central clear spot in the hall--a spot that was to act as the stage during
our dining experience--the performance ensued.
This was a type of production known as dinner theatre, put
on by the Masque and Gown Society of Bowdoin College. For the delight
of the audience, a presentation of The Universal Language, by David Ives,
complemented the apple cranberry crisp that was served for dessert.
First time attendee of dinner theatre, Ryan Walsh-Martel
'03, said, "It was a great experience, eating watching a play
was a unique concept in the entertainment/nourishment industry."
Another audience member, who wished to remain anonymous,
said that he "laughed so hard at one point whipped cream came out
my nose." Noelle Daly '05, commented that "the macaroni and
cheese, served as part of the first course, made the performance of For
Whom the Southern Belle Tolls especially scintillating."
Both one-act plays were witty and well-played, especially
taking into account the unusually short rehearsal time of about five days.
First time independent director, Samuel Cohan '05, said
that he "enjoyed working with the cast" and found the experience
to be quite rewarding.
Though dinner theatre is a relatively recent invention,
the idea of banqueting and being entertained by actors reaches back to
the Tudor time period (15th century), when short plays would be presented
as interludes between parts of the meal. Since that time, dinner theatre
has evolved into a performance put on for the public and complemented
by a full meal included in the ticket price.
In the language of The Universal Language, Colin A. Diek '04 said "Argo, zits back, laxa, epp ejoinda snow." Indeed, the experience was a pleasure, both in terms of the culinary delights by Joan Sand and the Bowdoin College Dining Service and in terms of theatrical performance by the Masque and Gown Society.