Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (2008)

Some very talented actors clearly invested a lot of themselves in this year’s production of “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.” Unfortunately, they did so in service to a bizarre production that managed to be both boring and gaudy, confusing yet otherwise unaffecting. Just a teeny bit of relevant editor’s background here: my reading tastes run to fantasy and science fiction and my theatrical tastes, while not fully formed yet, have been broad enough to enjoy “odd” productions like “Lorca in a Green Dress.” I bring this up only to say that it wasn’t impossible for me to enjoy this production; I just didn’t.

The story seemed to be about an obese woman named Minerva, played by Sandra Marquez (who does her damnedest), who grows ever-more obese and correspondingly disconnected from her life until she crosses into the mythical and floats up in the air. She spends the entire 2nd Act up in the air, and it is made clear that despite her physical weight it’s her emotional baggage that has been keeping her tethered to her life. As she sets these cares aside, she goes higher and higher, eventually telling her husband (G. Valmont Thomas, a personal favorite that I was actually feeling pity for by the end) that she’s leaving before soaring into the starry sky.

No, seriously, this is the play. That, and Minerva’s sister (Zilah Mendoza) needs a man to feel complete, and the man at the time of the production (Rene Millan) is obsessed with being a cop that he introduces himself as “Officer.” There is a more conventional arc regarding Officer’s ability to invest himself in an intimate relationship; this might have gone somewhere if it hadn’t been overshadowed (literally) by Minerva’s presence.

Given the relatively late posting of this review, I find myself hard-pressed to provide too thorough an autopsy. It’s easiest to say that, in the opinion of myself and the people sitting near me in the New Theatre that night, neither the ad copy on OSF’s website, nor the material from the Director (Tracy Young) in the playbill, seemed to have anything to do with the actual play. Should you come across the playbill in your B&B’s bookshelves, read it with a judicious grain of salt.

My suspicion is that those inside the production came to believe very strongly in the themes that they found in the play (perhaps as explained somewhere by the playwright?), despite the opacity of the actual play as presented. If you didn’t see “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner”, don’t harbor any regret.