Actors Matt Holland and Justin Johnson in episode 2 of Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s “En Pointe”. (Photo Credit: AJ Korkidakis)
Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s “En Pointe” mini-play series written and directed by Mathieu Murphy-Perron presents nine loosely related slice-of-life episodes of open-air, socially-distanced theatre in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode 2: The Kitchen of the Unemployed deals with a young chef recently laid off due to the pandemic, as he attempts to gain a social media following for his YouTube cooking lessons by handing out free samples of his gourmet vegan food on the street. During the 12-minute production, he meets with three different characters as they stop by to sample his food. In a brilliant bit of realism, two of the characters speak to him in English and one in French, reflecting the bilingual makeup of the neighbourhood, and the all too familiar feeling of young professionals needing to speak both languages to reach a wide audience.
(Photo Credit: AJ Korkidakis)
There was something heavily relatable for me in each character interaction, but I found myself surprised to be relating most to the final food sampler, a complete opposite of me in terms of demographics, a middle-aged grumpy man named Frank (Matt Holland) with very little patience for gourmet food. He’s a “meat-and-potatoes” kind of guy, with little spending money for eating out, but he enjoys supporting the local pizzeria every once in a while, when he can scrounge up the cash. He finds the young chef’s gourmet samples delicious, but he’s got bigger worries, under threat of eviction by a gentrifying landlord. In a play filled to the brim with light-hearted laughs, the quick mention of such problems brought me back to my own similar worries. Across the three food-sampling characters, each sympathetic in their own way, every single person in the audience must have connected with one of them. What a rare delight to have theatre available to an audience for free, set outside in their own neighbourhood, with characters that reflect their own existences.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the surreality of sitting in a socially distanced, obligatorily masked audience as they experience art in a completely new way, while the art explores the experience of facing exactly this strange, new reality.
The next (independent, non-sequential) episode will take place on August 20th, at a secret location somewhere in Point-Saint-Charles to be announced the morning of the play. Bring a mask, and come find out that you’re not alone in those weird, complicated feelings you’ve been feeling since the start of the pandemic.
Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s En Pointe runs for 9 performances from August 6th to September 27th, 2020 across Pointe-Saint-Charles. Free admission. Every show is presented at a different location, revealed on the day of performances.