Monday, March 9, 2020

The Dinner Conversation

At Play in a Day, I spend the entire day sketching the rehearsals for The Dinner Conversation by Tracey Jane. After the cold reading at the blue round table the cast moved to the main staging area, a long red table with a series of trays lined up. I loved that the long table and the round table visually created an exclamation point. Everyone still had the script in hand but director Kaitlyn Harrington stood on the opposite side of the table guiding the actors for the staging. The setting was a Family Pizza Corral. All-You-Care-to-Create Buffet. “You Make It. We Bake It!” Jac, (Jac LeDoux) was on a date with her "Special Someone" Ken (Ken Preuss). She was a recently divorced mom of two college kids who were returning home, on the brink of consummating her first new relationship after
the end of a long marriage.

Every line of their playful exchange hinted at sexual innuendo. Ken was a food critic but had never been in the Pizza Corral. He and Jac had spent time getting to know each other but this was the first night out with the possibility of desert. However Jac wanted her kids to meet Ken before "going there." She wanted her kids to meet Ken the following night. Being a gentleman, he was fine with waiting. As they snuggle close, pressing their fingers in the dough, Jac's kids, Ben (Bennet Preuss) and Melanie (Melanie Leon) entered the restaurant.

Melanie brought a delightful level of comedy to the awkward exchange. Woman to woman, she spoke of enjoying toppings and of courser some sausage. Melanie had learned all about men with some healthy experimentation in college. While Melanie was playful and teasing her mom, Ben was sullen and angry that his mom was out with another man a year after the divorce. At one point he shouted, "That man is definitely NOT my dad." The irony in that statement is that Ken, in real life, off the stage, IS Ben's father. There were so many multi layered meanings and insider jokes in this 10 minute production that made it such a delight to discover. I watched the play performed over and over all day long as they rehearsed and it never grew old. I just loved the characters more as they were fleshed out. I was lucky to have encamped myself with this clever and fun script and cast.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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