A SERIOUS BANQUET
A Serious Banquet is a devised piece structured around the party Picasso threw for the painter Henri Rousseau in 1908 as recorded by Gertrude Stein in "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein." We have devised a piece that gives us a sense of what it’s like to be inside a Picasso painting – to explore the world from a Cubist perspective, to see the world as he painted it, and to translate some of his paintings into movement, sound, smell, and taste. We dance a painting, eat a painting, hear a painting, and smell a painting. In other words, we are creating a symbolist synaesthetic theatre piece that is not a biography of Picasso, or an art history lecture about his paintings, but a multi-sensory experience of what it is like to be inside his paintings: we hope it takes the audience through a way of thinking and being as embodied in his art.
Conceived and Directed by Erin B. Mee
Devised by The Company
Script by Jessie Bear
Featuring: Jeanine Abraham, Stephen Bennett, Shawn Chua, Ashley Wren Collins, Vincent Cooper, Ryan Feyk, Caitlin Goldie, Erika Iverson, Miranda Kahn, Lily Narbonne, Clara Pagone, Jillian Puhalla, Kate Reilly, Sandra Maren Schneider, Ali Kennedy Scott
"Collaborators Jessie Bear and Erin Mee are paving the way to a profound immersive theatrical experience where performance and life intertwince effortlessly. Let them begin again, and again, and again."
--Sydney Arndt for Show Business Weekly, 6/11/14
"[A Serious Banquet] is enveloping. In many ways I felt as though I was a kid at Disney World...This is Not A Theatre Company take it upon themselves to actualize the premise of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris in a fantastic fury of red wine, soft cheeses and broadly characterized homage. They create an evening of boundless fun."
"This 'play' isn't a play at all. It is an invitation to experience celebration. Yes, it is about art and history, but these things were not handed to me in a dusty book, or put upon the stage where it could judge me for not knowing enough. I was allowed instead to play and grapple with the work, not as a spectator but as a creator myself - not from the outside pering in, but from within itself."
--Wesley Doucette for New York Theatre Review, 6/12/14
"This is Not A Theatre Company" reflects Erin B. Mee and Jessie Bear's immersive-theater vision, which is realized with gusto in A Serious Banquet. Their new show/dinner party riffs lushly on a birthday party given by Pablo Picasso in his Paris studio for Henri Rousseau in 1908.."