Audience members at FringeArts are seated at a huge table covered with white linen. Each place is set with flatware, cloth napkins, plates, and wine glasses. More viewers sit around the perimeter on tall stools. A waiter bustles about doing this and that, sometimes stopping to chat. Wait a minute, that waiter is Geoff Sobelle!
As he did in The Object Lesson, Sobelle involves the audience, asking some to read lines that have been put in a menu, others to handle items and pass them around. Some get glasses of wine. Eventually he takes his place at the head of the table, drinking ridiculous amounts of wine from the bottle and messily gobbling up food. Despite all the physical comedy and deliberate over-acting going on, this work is clearly conceptual in nature.
Food appears to be the third part of a Trilogy. His magnificent The Object Lesson, mined memories. Home rummaged into the past while dealing with simultaneity and the transitory nature of a house. As I wrote about Home then: “With all the assembly and building, and all the acting, physical comedy and activity, this is, at heart, a thought piece.” And so it is with this new play. Actor, creator, magician and illusionist, Sobelle performs miracles. He’s a lone actor, but it takes a village of unseen helpers behind and under the large stage. Award-winning director, Lee Sunday Evans, directed Food. The celebrated co-creator and illusionist Steve Cuiffo, guided the magic tricks. Unless you know Sobelle’s other works, you’ve never seen anything like this.
[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] September 8-18, 2022; fringearts.com