STORIES FROM A SMALL HOUSE: FoodSecret

STORIES FROM A SMALL HOUSE: FoodSecret

Caroline Smith's Eating SecretFor all those fans of PostSecret, Frank Warren's fabulous anonymous-secret-postcard blog, UK performance artist Caroline Smith creates a theatrical analogue -- for a small audience, with food. She has been performing Eating Secret since 2008, and versions of the production have been seen at the Tate Modern and the Camden Arts Centre. She has also performed it in conjunction with the Experimental Food Society, a UK collective of "culinary creatives" looking to push food into other realms (they host an annual installation/performance event).

Eating Secret takes place in two parts. In the first, audience members meet individually with Smith (in character as her alter-ego Mertle). During this meeting (which often takes place in in a boudoir-like setting), audience members are encouraged to share their secret eating habits and hang-ups. Following their confessions. Smith feeds them cakes. The (anonymous) secrets are then woven into Smith's performance for the entire group. Reviews of Smith's work can be found here and here.

I'm intrigued by this idea of a double performance: an intimate encounter linked to a larger, more public one. It seems like a structure that could be adapted to many other types of performance. It takes advantage of the intimacy and sensual impact of the performer-audience connection and then puts that connection into a social context. It's a double whammy that could hit you emotionally and politically -- and of course, where food is concerned, physically...

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