Foodtakes the idea of ‘dinner and a show’ to a whole new level. The immersion theatre production tells a story about family, love and (of course) food, and we sat down with Steve Rodgers for a taste of what’s in store.

What’s the concept behind Food?

I love theatre that I experience, not just witness. It’s got something to do with this idea I have of theatre as communion. It’s essentially an act of being in a room with each other, sharing a story, breaking bread. I always had in my mind that somewhere in the play we’d have some sourdough, eat some soup, drink some wine. It’s an act of coming together, like at any dinner table.

How much do food and sex go together in our daily lives?

Food and sex are two things we spend a great deal of our lives thinking about. They are both extremely beautiful and necessary things, completely linked to our survival, but they can also be dangerous, when the ‘want’ gets too big. Beautiful and dangerous makes for a good story.

Australia’s multicultural society brings with it a vast variety of food and characters alike – how is this reflected in the sights, sounds and tastes of Food?

Food explores the idea of the old and the new, who we think we are, who we think others think we are, and whether we have the ability to be something else. Kind of like exploring our national character. One of the three main characters, Hakan, is Turkish; he’d prefer to make red lentil soup, while Elma, who runs the restaurant, prefers minestrone. Multiculturalism has dragged Australia into the world and made us a much more interesting bunch!

As the writer and co-director of a play about food, this must be a particularly fun experience – what’s it like working with this team?

I’m a big believer in making theatre. Sure, I started out by myself in the room writing, but there’s a whole lot of words I wrote that don’t end up in the play, because along comes Kate Champion to direct, and the actors, and a composer and a designer and a whole lot of their intellect, their hearts, is given to the play, and it makes it richer, more nuanced – better. It’s all our play.

Food is running at Riverside Theatre,Parramatta from Tuesday July 1 until Saturday July 5.

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