A teen theater troupe in Dallas is putting on a new show that uses a delicious meal to tackle issues about food.
Cry Havoc, an award-winning theater company that employs young performers, has a new production, From the Table: A Celebration of Food, in which 10 young women explore the role that food plays in life.
The play looks at how food affects family life, community, rituals, and personal well-being. It also explores relationships with food that aren't always positive, such as obesity and body image.
What makes the production most unique is that it's an interactive experience with Cafe Momentum, the downtown Dallas restaurant which employs and helps rehabilitate at-risk juveniles. According to Cry Havoc's founder Mara Richards Bim, the performance concludes with the cast sharing communal fare to celebrate the importance of food.
"At the very end of the play, the cast, servers, and chefs will sit down with the audience to break bread together," she says. "We want to allow food to be the catalyst for connection, communication, and hopefully understanding."
Bim founded Cry Havoc in 2014. The company employs young performers who challenge audience expectations of what youth theater is today. In 2018, it received the National Community Impact Award from Theatre for Young Audiences USA at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center.
The script for From the Table was self-written by the cast, who come from different backgrounds across the city. Their differing perspectives give them the ability to explore how food brings communities together, suggesting that food may be the true unifier of humanity.
The play is guest-directed by Kelsey Leigh Ervi, associate artistic director of WaterTower Theatre, who applauds the fact that the production is staffed entirely by women.
"I hope what people take away is how important it is to listen to young women," she says. "Give them an opportunity to have a seat at the table. Give them an opportunity to express themselves authentically and understand how it is all connected to sitting down and sharing a meal."
Performances will take place January 11-12 and January 17-19 at the South Dallas Cultural Center. There'll be a special fundraising brunch at Cafe Momentum on January 13 at 12:30 pm, when Cry Havoc will perform excerpts from the production.They'll serve bison pastrami hash, house-cured salmon, fruit salad, and assorted biscuits, scones, and sweet breads.
Tickets to the play can be purchased at TicketDFW or by calling 214-871-5000.
Other Cry Havoc productions for 2019 include Sex Ed on July 3-15 as part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project; and Crossing the Line, a co-production with Kitchen Dog Theater, July 19-August 4 at Arts Mission Oak Cliff.