Over the past four months I’ve come together with a group of talented dancers, actors and improvisers to explore America’s rampant consumer culture. The result is this week’s performances of Minced Meat, an absurd dance-theater piece that asks “How far will you go to feel full?” The process began with free association and improvised movement on a theme I’d never explored on the dance floor: meat. It was the perfect starting point to explore consumption and fulfillment. Is meat a tasty treat or an ethical nightmare? Why are there so many sexual innuendos that revolve around meat products? Is it the ultimate form of narcissism for a sentient, physical being to consume flesh? The Thick Rich Ones co-directors Jochelle and Ashley honed these often challenging and evocative explorations into vignettes that range from ketchup commercials to dark comedy.
One specific commonality that most of the cast shares is experience working in the food service industry. When we compared notes we uncovered patterns – we used the same banter, heard the same comments from customers and generally felt odd about the whole exchange. It is acting on the part of the server, repeating the same lines and asking the same questions day after day. It is disturbing to see how easy it is for customers to become infantilized or obsessed with ordering dishes that they consider “naughty”. This is what has made the process and product of Minced Meat so interesting for me, that just underneath our meals, jobs and everyday routines lurks desire, fantasy and the unending need to have just a little bit more.
By Katherine McGinity