Join the throng of Orpheus followers and engage in initiation rituals involving picnic operettas in community gardens. You, too will be enchanted as Orpheus, more powerful than any mortal, can make local food jump onto beautifully arranged platters and through song, lull gardeners to share their bounty with perfect strangers. Enjoy the music of Orpheus, his wife, Eurydice and the Nymphs of the Underworld as they fight for love, battle the spirits and ultimately reunite the lovers.
The community gardens of the Twin Cities are on the forefront of social movement and change, and those who work to support them, have know this for a long time. It is though community gardens that we can share conversation, ideas, art and food. It is through active involvement in community food sources that we become aware of our neighbors and celebrate their worth. It is through food that all humanity shares a commonality. This Picnic Operetta embodies a direct and important link between community, food and art and provides a wonderful way to celebrate a late summer afternoon.
The Heavy Table has interviewed artistic director, Scotty Reynolds as well as the chef, Nick Schneider to provide some insight into the why’s and how’s of the production.
For my part, I went for the food. All of it was served amuse bouche style with little bites on skewers and toothpicks. Before each dish was presented, the narrator would proclaim, “The more you admire it, the better it tastes,” and admirable it was. We started with an herbed watermelon followed a little later by a buttered sauteed green. At this point in the operetta, Orpheus went to the underworld to plea for the return of his wife, Eurydice and the audience was sent to follow.
In our new location, Orpheus finds Eurydice and his buzzing as a bee charms her. His sweetness draws from the chef a honey colored, lavender infused sweet bread. The plot thickens as Orpheus battles the nymphs and the audience takes on a BLT deconstructed. As if the gates of heaven were opened, vegetarians were honored with a pigless version.
Just when you think the lovers will never make it out of the underworld, Eurydice is indeed dead, the audience is asked to devour a Moroccan cauliflower floret floating on a fresh, crisp green pepper boat with sweet yellow raisins and breadcrumbs. Oh, the sheer frustration of it all! In the end, the lovers make it out of the underworld? Or do they? Perhaps some bubbly fruit concoction would be in order for the final course? It was all very amusing and the human senses were employed to partake of this theatrical operetta of Orpheus and Eurydice. Bravo!