There is a set of rules that curators tend to follow about what gets programmed in certain seasons. Something with gravitas launches the fall, politics and death are tucked into the coldest months, comedies in the spring, and something lovely and light in the summer. Our 2016/2017 season falls right in line with these trends. For proof look no further than the intense examination of government surveillance and self-loathing in January (Our Secrets) and the delightful production now playing at the Majestic (Cuisine and Confessions).
Can you blame us? In Boston, by the time May is over, we’ve endured snow and snow’s disgusting cousin snain (snow/rain…you know you hate it) and all the madness of a city governed by the academic calendar. The population in the city thins out and those of us that remain seek outdoor entertainment and air conditioning.
Summer 2016 is complicated to say the least. As a nation we are facing seemingly endless tragedies in the headlines and the vitriol in the comment sections. Newsfeeds are a tenuous balance of opinion pieces, protest photos, and weekend highlights. It seems that now more than ever we need to work together to find solutions to society’s largest questions and a highly charged presidential election isn’t exactly helping.
I am going to put it out there and admit I didn’t know how I was going to feel about Cuisine and Confessions. I found myself hoping for something hard-hitting and stimulating to help me intellectually sort through current events. I walked into the theater where I’ve spent so many of my nights here in Boston and instantly noticed a difference. A fun loving summer audience was there for a good time and the ecstatic group of artists were ready to serve it up hot.
As we’ve been drumming up excitement about this production we’ve talked a lot about the cuisine and maybe a little less about the confessions. But it is the perfect balance of the two that made the experience exactly what my soul needed in summer 2016. The company, comprised of artists from around the world, was so open and generous that as the evening progressed it wasn’t just the smell of baking bread surrounded us, but a real sense of community and a sense of love. One second we would cheer the perfect execution of a particularly daring stunt and the next moment we were comforting each other through bittersweet nostalgia and the complicated familial histories. The diversity of perspectives, the pains of honesty, and the delights of excellent spectacle bent the rules of traditional programming. Instead we got something that it always sneaks up on us and always arrives at the right time: summer love.
Cuisine and Confessions runs in the Emerson/Cutler Majestic through August 7th. For more information go to artsemerson.org.