nytheatre.com review by Jo Ann Rosen
April 15, 2008
I was eagerly anticipating EATfest's first offering in its semi-annual festival of plays; first, because EATfest generally puts on a good show, and second because the title, The Food Monologues, by Kerri Kochanski, intrigued me. I had imagined potential topics: The Best Meal I Ever Ate, Arresting Aromas for the Holidays, or Adults Lick the Bowl Too; maybe there would be a children's perspective like Wild About White Foods; or more treacherous territory like How I Learned to Cook, a monologue in which a bride takes instruction from her husband on how to cook like his mother.
I was open, but, in the end not open enough to spend an evening hearing about the agony of dieting, compulsive eating, more dieting, and every excuse not to. There are 13 monologues with 13 women delivering them, but in reality, there is only one—one that loops and loops into a baker's dozen.
During the second monologue I made a note, "Whoops! Should have mixed these up a bit," not realizing the whole evening was devoted to the one subject. Writing from the heart is one thing, and perhaps this subject is at the very core of Kochanski's heart; but to present it publicly, the characters must elicit sympathy from the audience. The playwright does not succeed on this front. Self-loathing runs through the monologues, and the characters never reveal what is at stake for them. The most they ask for is another body. After 56 minutes, I was sorry I didn't spend the time luxuriating over a nice dinner.