When Sarah told me I needed to write the next blog I responded with, “Okay!” and then, “Shoot wait what do I write about?” Then my eyes fell onto the large piece of marble cake I had in my hand. Sarah had just pulled it out of the oven and it smelled like heaven and tasted like- like all the glorious things on earth. The cocoa swirl was the perfect level of chocolatey goodness, while the vanilla swirl was just sweet enough to balance it without being overbearing. It was, simply put, delicious.
In that moment it struck me that food- especially dessert- was a huge part of our rehearsal process and of Kaleid in general. We always bring in food to share with each other- sometimes a new recipe we’ve been wanting to try, or maybe leftovers from a family party. One company member got us hooked on kettle-cooked jalapeno chips. More than once I’ve brought an offering of Munchkins to apologize for being late. Or, like last Thursday, one of us will declare that “It’s just a chocolate kind of day” as we pull out our stash of pretzels and off-brand Nutella. Food has always been, and always will be, something that brings us together.
You might have guessed it already, but food has been a huge part of my upbringing. One could often find me in the kitchen helping my mom cook, especially on major holidays. Some of my earliest memories are of begging my mom to let me help her; eventually she’d relent and let me snap peas or pour sugar once she had measured it. As I got older, she trusted me with more important roles in the kitchen until eventually I could pull off the Great Giacobbe Christmas Baking Marathon Extravaganza almost single-handedly. I’m convinced she’s the reason why I didn’t starve to death in college- and why I constantly had people chasing me down for my snicker-doodle recipe (you’re a fool if you’re not using cream of tartar). Food became something that linked me to others, and mealtimes became bonding experiences, whether with my mom, my family, or with friends. It seems oddly fitting that I would grow up and fall in love with a man who had worked as a professional chef for fifteen years. In him, I found all the best parts of home- the comfort, the love, and the passion for food in all forms (and more cooking lessons!).
Food was what made me take a liking to Sarah when we met three years ago. That’s a lie- it was her ideas about what theatre could be that make me like her; food was just the (literal) icing on the cake. I had recently graduated college and was working on campus for the summer when a friend of mine sent me an audition notice. The attached note simply read “DO IT”.
The notice was for a show slated to be performed in that year’s Fringe Festival in Philadelphia. The piece would use physical contortion (specifically circus arts) to explore the depths of emotional contortion. “Cool,” I thought, “I dance! I do physical things!” It was an unpaid gig, but that’s fine, I was just starting my career and was more concerned with getting experience than I was with getting paid. I was already set on responding when I reached the bottom of the notice. “I hope that it will be fun and that we can all learn a lot. And add something to our resumes,” it read. “And I will make cookies.”
That sealed the deal right there.
Fast forward three years, Sarah and I are still working together. She’s formed her own theatre company and let me tag along. I know the reason we continue to create together is that we found something good- a like-mindedness- in each other. Somehow, among all the fuss that is life, we found a group of people who all have the very similar ideas about theatre, yet we all express those ideas in very different ways. We are dancers, singers, linguists, playwrights, and without that diversity we couldn’t do what we do.
For me, art is a way to constantly question the world around us. Through art, we can look at the way the world is and ask “why?” While food provides sustenance for the body, art provides sustenance for the soul. It makes sense to me that our rehearsals would be the perfect mix of that- a little bit of food, a little bit of art, and a whole lot of love. Among Kaleid, yes, we are all theatre artists and are here to create art, but we are also good friends with a tremendous amount of love and respect for each other. It’s funny to think that it all started with something as simple as a cookie.
-NinaPerformance photos by Valerie Giacobbe. Food photos by Nina Giacobbe and Sarah Mitteldorf