When an artist is able to convey a sense of place, something special transpires as we open up to the vast spectrum of experiences that visit us at every turn in the universe.
In an effort to pull back the veil of the commonplace and reveal connections between food, geography, and character, The Catamounts present FEED: Mountain, a unique series of pairings of regional U.S. cuisine and libations with related literary, dramatic, and musical works.
Artistic director, Amanda Berg Wilson, explains: "I'm a big fan of road trips, and the idea of a culinary road trip began to intrigue me. Whenever I travel by car around the country, I'm always inspired by the fact that even with all of the terrible things we manage to manifest on it and in it, this country is just downright beautiful. ... I wanted to explore that epic beauty and how it might influence regionalism, regional food and character, and in the exploration, discover something about what it means to be American, and how the geography of this country is related to our identity. And FEED, which is the brainchild of my Associate Artistic Director Lauren Shepard, is more fluid place to explore that idea than any particular play I've yet found."
Each course will feature the handiwork of a different local chef and drink-maker.
The first course, inspired by Walt Whitman and California street food, will pair tacos and tostadas from McDevitt Taco Supply with a featured cocktail from locally-owned Suerte Tequila.
Then on to the second course, conjuring bright flowers and sand dunes of the Southwest's Mojave Desert, crafted by Richie Link, formerly of Matsuhisu in Vail.
Crossing the heartland, from the high plains to the Midwest, imaginatively combining classic staples, the third course features Boulder's Bradford Lappin of Das Pretzel paired with hand-crafted condiments from The Catamounts' Chef de Cuisine Zachary Wilkinson. This will all be served alongside a robust beer from Wisconsinites Erin and Jake Evans of Wild Woods Brewery.
Tying the meal together with the words and music, Berg Wilson explains, "We're really interested in the parallels between the story of a dish or drink and the story of a performance and how they can enhance one another, and maybe in concert reveal something altogether different than they could on their own. So my hope is that while eating a kielbasa-based Midwestern-inspired dish, and hearing a Carl Sandberg poem, while a John Cougar Mellencamp riff underscores it all, some alchemy occurs."
Finally, completing our coast-to-coast venture, The Catamounts' Pastry Chef Kathy Moore will create a dessert worthy of "The Big Apple" moniker.
Imagine combining theatrical arc and an epic epicurean meal. "You should have a visceral feeling after an experience of a well-wrought dramatic arc," Berg Wilson says. "It should not be just an intellectual feeling—I understand this story and what it means. You should feel it in your belly! I mean, laughter or catharsis leaves you spent, or sometimes (paradoxically) sated. A bit exhausted. A good meal is no different. I want the experiences I craft for my audience to be full-bodied."
Apparently, it's no coincidence that the movement for locally grown foods and tailored theatre converge on the fertile plains of Boulder County. "Yes," says Berg Wilson, "because we're dedicated to the artisanal, and many of the beers, or spirits, or products, or produce we feature are made by local artisans. We also have relationships with many of the farms around town, and use their produce whenever possible. Just like we feel local artists like ourselves should be championed, we want to champion the locally-crafted. It's been a rich decision, as we are directly collaborating with those artisans, and in many cases, they are creating products just for us. And a brewer or farmer or chef is every bit the storyteller that a theatre artist is. I love, love, love finding we have more of a language in common that you would imagine!"
The Catamounts' culinary theatrical performance art FEED: Mountain has a few tickets remaining for this coming Sunday, June 1st, at 6:00 PM at Altona Grange, 9386 N 39th Street, Boulder County, Colorado. For tickets: http://feedmountain.brownpapertickets.com/ or call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.