Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Preview – The Kitchen – Cooking up a sweet sensation at the Grand Opera House (Wed 21/Thu 22) #BelFest

The Kitchen promises mass catering on an industrial scale in what the show’s director described to me yesterday as “a multi-sensory production”.

Roysten Abel explained that five years ago he paid a visit to Jalaludin Rumi’s tomb in Konya.
After paying respects at his tomb I was taken to his kitchen. First there were two pots, huge pots, where the food would be cooked and just above that was a raised platform and Rumi sat there with his dervishes and meditators while the food was being cooked. On the left hand side there were shoes. This was where the novices would be asked to sit and wait – without any food or water – until Rumi said they could join him.

The novices could be left baking for days in the middle of the cooking and dancing.

While Wednesday and Thursday night’s audiences in the Grand Opera House may feel like novices, they’ll not be left for days, and they will be fed the payasam that is being cooked up in front of them.

It was years later when Roysten started working with drummers – their particular drums are “copper pots with hide on them – that it reminded him of Rumi’s kitchen and the recipe for the culinary show started to form.
The Kitchen is an experience where you go through not just the emotions but the sound and smell and finally the taste altogether as a narrative.

Come along to this week’s performances at the Belfast International Arts Festival and you’ll experience the varying smells of the cooking as the different ingredients are added to the two huge pots in the centre of the stage, along with “a sonic narrative” from the drums that are beaten in the towering set. And tied in with expect to witness the emotional family narrative between the husband and wife who are all the time cooking the payasam.

Food and family ... what’s not to like?! The Kitchen has toured through Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and this is its UK and Irish première. Tickets from £12-£24. Approaching the festival’s midpoint, there are still lots of goodies in the programme waiting to be sampled ...

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