Rye Bread & Worcestershire

15 Apr

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A helluva day. 55 contracts processed and assigned…first food at 5pm.

Am snockered.

…But I promised something from behind the curtain for today’s post, and I’m good for it.

Since my day was passed with nary a Cheerio to sooth my tummy, food was frequently on the brain, as I sifted from contract to contract and fed my tummy acids with more black coffee.

…So “food” will be today’s quick peek. Not a glamourous part of the job, but the more you know about theatre, the more you see there IS no “glamourous” part of the job. That’s all in the heads of the people watching from the seats.

…So are the gluttonous ravishings of practical prop foods, and beauty of the jewel-toned alcohols filling up snifters and downstage bars.

But food and drink are supremely important props. They fill an uncomfortable silence with scraping cutlery, and slurping of tea…while being a gigantic pain in the ass to stage hands, and actors alike.

…Because we rarely (if ever) eat and drink the actual foods supposedly represented, due to the fact that apparently since time first began, playwrights give an absolute shit about the mechanics of dinner scenes and food allergies and non-alcoholic booze, and the disgusting practice it takes to achieve them.

How do you keep ice cream from melting under stage lights for upwards of 45 minutes?

What does one do with gluten allergies for one quarter of a cast?

Is there anything more disgusting than watered-down, warm, flat Pepsi in a glass decanter?

…Yes there is.  It’s called “Worcestershire gravy.”

Citrus-spray to stave off browning of apples cut two hours ago.

Semi-frozen cakes to keep them from crumbling all over the place.

What does one sub in for cold milk, to a non dairy drinker, which has been housed in a non-working refrigerator on stage for an entire act?

What kind of meat do you serve in a diner when none of the cooking appliances are actually hooked up?

How many chews can you get it down in?

Does it phlegm or dry out your throat too much to speak and be understood?

Is it messy or sticky?

Is it awkward to skewer, stab, spoon or cut?

Does it spoil, curdle, or turn unseemly colors under hot lights?

…And: how mean can a techie team be, when they wanna slip in a slice or bit of something sinful, without your knowing until it is far too late?

Most of us have been there and seen that.

…But for those who haven’t: The subbing in and out of food is a natural necessity. 

Lights are hot, frequently the foods are in non-functioning appliances on stage, which only ups the temperature if anything. And actors are, by reputation, finicky eaters: famously on restrictive diets, non-dairy, and/or vegetarian, and now: gluten-free, while being allergic to everything under the sun.

…Which is why one of the first questions asked at the first rehearsal is: “what (if any) food allergies do you have?”  This ties in life-choice foods as well, of course, and from there: the SM and props department, will have to come up with the correct looking foods, refashioned and dressed up to look like totally other foods, which we actors will be presented with come tech week and told to eat and drink. 

Period.

…And we do.

…Which is sometimes a pleasant surprise. (ie: the bakery-donated gluten-free New Years cake we eat in “Anne Frank.”)

…And sometimes not. (ie: the time they ran out of powdered gravy mix and doused my rye bread “meatloaf” in Worcestershire sauce instead, forgetting to tell me, for “Murder at the Vicarage.”)

…If you count smoking as a prop of consumption, I’ve had my fill with that lot as well…from grass-tasting peat, to something resembling catnip, to vapours, to pepper herbals, cloves, and god knows what-all, so long as actual tobacco wasn’t part of it, thus a patron-consumed health risk.

I’ve eaten delicious Greek yogurt on white bowl-forms, masquerading as ice cream, a la mode with an actual slice of apple pie.

…I’ve had gallons of teas, juices and flat sodas as different liquors, combining in truly odd tastes to pass as cocktails.

…Spam burgers with skinned apple slices as fries.

…”Crimes of the Heart” put me off Lemon in any form, for upwards of five years, from doing that one damn lemonade-making scene over and over and over again.

…Stale challah bread.

…Plenty of raw veg.

…A glass of powered, lukewarm, milk.

…Brownie pieces in lieu of boxed chocolates (required, with not enough time to chew them properly.)

…Tic-Tac pills.

…Kool Aid cough syrups.

…Whipped cream mashed potatoes.

…The list goes on and on.

I keep waiting for the day when I’ll sit in front of a full Italian meal of meats and pastas stood in by  bleached Twizzler ropes and cake sprinkles topped with cookie-chunk meatballs and lumpy, iced-cake “lasagna.” 

….It’s only a matter of time.

…Especially when the only “food allergy” I ever put down on that form is “fish.” 

…Which even the evilest-minded SM would never in a MILLION YEARS attempt, under hot lights, with actors.

The End.

~D

 

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2 Responses to “Rye Bread & Worcestershire”

  1. somewheretoelsewhere April 16, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    I remember eating white bread with paprika on it because the script said we had to have fish on the plate

  2. She Writes A Little April 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Now that’s a good one…never seen that done.

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