“Variety is the spice of life that gives life all of its flavor,” is a line from Fanny’s Fantastic Food Frolic, the fall production from Augusta University’s Department of Communication and Theatre AUG. It also touts a deeper message about the play’s premise, which will bring more than a touch of whimsy to the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre from Nov. 9-12.
The play follows the fantastical and enlightening journey of Fanny as she discovers beauty and unity through diversity.
“It’s this sort of minimalistic view of art,” said Melanie Kitchens O’Meara, an Augusta University assistant professor of communication. “But at the same time it shows if we’re not contrasting or diverse, then (life) isn’t interesting.”
According to Fanny’s mom, “Fanny was having a gray day. For so many days that she was turning gray.” Fanny’s thoughts, actions, clothes, food, and drink were all a blah gray. Until one day, her mom introduces her to The Chromatic Diet, a photographic project by French photographer Sophie Calle.
The diet is simple: focus on one solid color each day of the week. From this, fun, informative conversations about composition, and about composing oneself through art, occur.
A group of dancing performers, known as The Bauhaus Grays and inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Stage Workshop theater experiments, assist Fanny on a colorful journey to find unity in diversity.
O’Meara explains, “as (Fanny) tries on the different colors, she realizes gray is not just blah gray. There are different shades of gray and tints and hues.”
The production is the brainchild of O’Meara, who worked with her co-writer, colleague, and mentor, Ruth Laurion Bowman. The duo drew inspiration from Molly Bang’s Picture This: How Pictures Work, a treatise about evoking emotion through visual composition; O’Meara’s essay The Excess of Elements in the Chromatic Diet published in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies; as well as Bauhaus Stage Workshop and Image Theatre experiments.
O’Meara explains she uses practices from the Bauhaus Stage Workshop to help guide how the photographs are staged. That is, “how materials perform on stage,” says O’Meara “we’re working with materials like pool noodles, cardboard, (and) construction paper to build stage pieces and costumes.” This creates a playful and colorful aesthetic.
Fanny’s Fantastic Food Frolic is a fun-filled journey that brings about emblematic lessons on the importance of tolerance and diversity. It leaves the impression that without variety, life is, according to a line from the play, “boring, dull, redundant.”
Fanny’s Fantastic Food Frolic will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-11 and at 3 p.m. Nov. 12. Refreshments will follow the Nov. 9 opening night performance.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Maxwell Theatre website at augusta.edu/maxwelltheatre.
Savanna Syms is a member of The Agency, the senior capstone course in Augusta University’s Department of Communication.