Food fun: Playback good enough to eat

Consider the special gustatory treats summer brings us: sweet yellow corn, rosy tomatoes, assorted plump squashes, and all manner of melons, berries, and beans, just to start the list. Think of picnics, pool parties, breakfasts on the patio, or dinners on the deck. Those are some of the thoughts that may be occupying the members of the local Playback Theater troupe, Kitchen Sink Players. For their July performance, they have chosen food as the theme.
"It's likely to be juicy," jokes long-time company member Jennifer Peart. During each public performance, the actors ask for suggestions for themes for upcoming shows and then meet to assess the options. Food seemed especially right for the spicy month of July when it appeared in the list of possibilities.
If you aren't familiar with Playback Theater, here are some of the basics. It's been around for a couple of decades and builds on some the currently popular ideas of improvisation. Unlike the television comedians of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" who work within a structured set of games and prompts, Playback troupes invite the folks who come to their shows to tell stories. Then the actors assume the roles of the characters in the stories and replay them for the audience. It sounds relatively simple, but, as any actor will tell you, improv requires exceptionally quick thinking, good timing, and a gift for comedy.
Say you've always wanted to try the art of improv yourself, or you've been to one of the Playback Theater's performances and are thinking you'd like to join the fun some time. Well you're in luck. Kitchen Sink members have teamed up with Live Arts to offer a series of workshops that explore the techniques of Playback. The second session meets this Saturday afternoon and focuses on the ensemble mode known as "chorus." Of course, participants will use their own stories as fodder for the improvisations.
Come September, the Kitchen Sink crowd will return to their last Friday of the month schedule of performances, but this week you can bring your favorite food story and see it told back playback-style as part of your Saturday evening entertainment.

The Playback Theater workshop meets Saturday, July 27, from 1-4pm at the Live Arts LA. B. Space, 609 E. Market St. $25-35. Call 977-4177, ext. 100 to register. Kitchen Sink members perform that evening at the McGuffey Art Center, 201 Second St. NW. 8pm. $5-8. 295-0625

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