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Carmen C. Wong and Niell DuVal of banished? productions are bringing Restaurant Week to Fringe Fest. They’re the producers, directors, and chefs behind “Tactile Dinner,” a celebration of Futurism, violence, industry, and experiential theater served over 15 courses. “Tactile Dinner Car” will serve up this typical CapFringe fare through a food-truck format.
“Tactile Dinner” is a theatrical adaptation of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti‘s 1932 Futurist Cookbook, the culinary followup to his 1909 “Futurist Manifesto.” One trattoria in Milan, Lacerba, still abides by Marinetti’s rejection of pasta and embrace of such exotic foodstuffs as steel ball bearings. But for the most part, Marinetti’s gastronomical reach has been confined to the world of theater and performance art. Italians might have at one point embraced the steel and speed (and war) exalted by Marinetti, but using motor oil as a glaze never quite took off.
Enter banished? productions, who first staged “Tactile Dinner” in 2009, expanding on Marinetti’s cousine to encourage all five senses. Six, if you count the nervousness that comes with being an audience member in participatory theater. The first sit-down, dinner-theater staging saw diners (this writer among them) blindfolded at times as “servertrons” dressed in black danced and disbursed authentic robot cuisine. For one course, I ate a tri-colored pill that did not taste like a tomato-basil-mozzarella pizza. But it was margehrita-esque, the sort of pie approximation that a cloud-based google-bot might devise.
This year, banished? productions is joining the Capital Fringe Festival and jumping on board with the food-truck revolution. The “Tactile Dinner Car” will be parked at the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar at Fort Fringe. What that means is still a little bit up in the air: The company is taking donations through Fractured Atlas to help build out the car frame.
A food truck is probably truer to Marinetti’s vision of Futurist cuisine than any ristorante. But putting an engine inside the frame is years off at best, says Wong. First, banished? productions will try to take their “Tactile Dinner” act to Finland, for which they’ve received a grant from the Theatre Communications Group.
“I’m trying to suss out a Nokia-inspired dish,” Wong says.