the food was terrible

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  • Comedy
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Photograph: Sue Kessler
The Food Was Terrible
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Photograph: Sue Kessler
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Photograph: Sue Kessler
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Photograph: Sue Kessler
The Food Was Terrible

the food was terrible. Bushwick Starr (see Off-Off Broadway). By William Burke. Directed by Mary Beth Easley. With Noel Joseph Allain, Evander Duck. Running time: 1hr. No intermission.

the food was terrible: In brief

Two men at a bar hash out questions big and small in William Burke's offbeat new play, directed by Mary Beth Easley.

the food was terrible: Theater review by Helen Shaw

A man walks into a bar—wait! it’s not a joke!—and says to the bartender, “I was at your daughter’s wake.” The room stills, then quickens. There are a thousand painful implications, and William Burke’s delicately funny theater poem the food was terrible wants to show us a hundred of them. Again and again, drinker (Allain) and pourer (Duck) return to that first sentence, the show rewinding to play theme and variation. Duck might hang his head, or joke offhandedly: “How did she seem?” Gentled by repetition, both devastation and humor go off at a distance—faraway bombs, underground.

Food starts as a villanelle of the overheard; only Will Eno works with such fine, sharp tools. And then Burke’s world shifts to weird. The note-perfect bar suddenly fills with additional artists, scrawling their own chalk-written output. Director Mary Beth Easley elicits calm, bewildered performances from Allain and Duck. They down drinks, blind to the loveliness around them, submerged in loss. Her restraint lets us feel their intoxication—the piece goes down easy, but you leave reeling.—Theater review by Helen Shaw

THE BOTTOM LINE This stylized study of grief creates a warm buzz.

Click here for discount Broadway and Off Broadway tickets.

Event phone: 917-623-9669
Event website: http://thebushwickstarr.org
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