[29] HOW TO MAKE POTATO SALAD (Aleksandra Berczynski & MB Grupa Realizacji): Fringe review

  • 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

Aleksandra Bercynski. How to Make Potato Salad. Fringe review.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.

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