- Three potatoes, peeled with difficulty (“you drive me as crazy as my date will”) by long fingernails and diced
- Two apples, crudely peeled (“how come no one told me how to peel apples?”) and thinly sliced
- Three pickles (or four? no: three), finely chopped
- One onion, chopped (don’t cry, he’ll think you’re emotionally unstable)
- One large spoonful of mayonnaise
Mix and serve
Cooking shows are among the most popular types of “reality TV”, but Aleksandra Berczynski’s one-woman play HOW TO MAKE POTATO SALAD demonstrates how unreal these programs are. Sat in the back of a Old City art gallery, we watch for twenty minutes as “beautiful Aleksandra” (as the Fringe guide aptly describes her) prepares potato salad. Dressed in a flattering polka dot dress, mini apron, and pink pumps, Berczynski begins to talk to herself and the conceit emerges; she is making a dish for a soon-to-arrive date. Unlike on TV, she reveals food preparation as a quotidian affair, stripped of “bam” excitement but tinged with everyday emotion: insecurity (“he better like me after this”), self-creation (“domestic goddess”), uncertainty (how many pickles to add). There’s poignancy even in potato salad.
The dish, served in bowls with a glass of wine after the performance: a fitting if somewhat bland-tasting coda to a short, quietly pleasing Fringe show. [Philadelphia International Institute Gallery] September 7-12, 2013, fringearts.ticketleap.com/how-to-make-potato-salad.