Directed by Daniel Adams and originally created with Sarah Burkhalter
Story by Jason Aguirre
Produced by 5 Senses Theatre
Off Broadway, Immersive Theater
Runs through 7.27.15
by Angel Lam on 6.24.15
Photo by Tyler Rivenbark.
BOTTOM LINE: An underground supper club experience where the lines between guests and actors blur.
The details remain secretive until the day before the event. You will receive via text message with the time and location. Upon arrival, guests are invited upstairs where our host, an unusually chatty woman, greets us into her spacious and refreshingly airy apt. The decor is clean and welcoming, but this is her house, and there are various rules posted on the walls. After being handed a delicious southern rum punch, I start to meet strangers and conversations seem unusually easy to converge.
Over an appetizing radish toast and a succulent fried oyster, the evening begins to unfold with some drama. Some of us came for a good time, while others are well dressed and may even be looking to meet a special someone. The line between guests and actors begin to blur when we are seated only centimeters away from our neighbors. The moody photographer across from you, or the charming waiter who had been making you nice drinks, may unexpectedly start serenading a love song. How the story unfolds depend on your “act.” This is a party where strangers mingle and guests become actors, actors become guests.
After three drinks and a strawberry rhubarb bread pudding, I could not tell who was who. On the subway ride home, you may still be wondering if the down-to-earth, trustworthy friend that you just made may not be who she said she was. At the close of the evening party (you will know when to leave), a cast list is revealed, and you marvel at the impeccable acting.
This is the aleatoric supper club theater that 5 Senses Theatre has created. Do not look for a dramatic storyline, as it's more like naturally flowing conversations between strangers. This is the third installment of this type of dinner experiences, titled “krāv" (pronounced "crave"), directed by Daniel Adams.
The highlight of the evening is chef Rick Martinez’s (Bon Appétit, Food Network) 4-course contemporary Cajun menu, which includes beer-brined king prawns over lemon habanero vinaigrette greens, and spicy glazed beef short ribs over green beans and garlic confit. The meal is delicious, but after the dinner, we were still left craving…perhaps spiritually. There is an instruction to head to a nearby bar and several guests flock there, looking for more. Perhaps we were craving more poetry, or stories, or romance, or simply something to remember the evening by.
Conceptually, krāv is an original and fun experiment, but practically more ingredients are needed to invigorate our senses. Overall, it’s a novel concept and interesting variations could be composed. I look forward to the next installment.
(krāv plays at a secret location through June 27, 2015. Remaining performances are Friday 6/26 and Saturday 6/27 at 7PM. Tickets are $97 and include a 4-course dinner with wine pairing. For tickets and more information visit 5sensestheatre.com.)