PUBLISHED November 9th, 2015 03:09 am | UPDATED January 20th, 2016 09:12 am
Imagine going for dinner one night (at a upscale restaurant, no less) with your partner, your closest friends, or even a first date. You discuss the day, highlight insignificant nonsense and memorable moments, all over a glass of fine wine. And then two random strangers begin to tell you their story – an incredible story of love. But there’s a twist: you get to choose what happens next.
Made possible by Rayaan Condy, the artistic director of Skinned Knee Productions (The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, 2013), Marcia Vanderstraaten’s Mind Map of Love is a gastronomical adventure of your own making, one table at a time. What’s even more fascinating is that ZOTT’s True Alps, the restaurant in which the play is staged, is owned by the same man – Christian Zott – who wrote the book the play is based on.
Stepping into the restaurant, one would first notice the huge paintings lining the left wall, as it turns out that this unique fine dining establishment also serves as an art gallery. Both levels of the premises serve as a makeshift stage for two concurrent shows each night. Each one features a couple, played either by the well-established Brendon Fernandez (Public Enemy, The Importance of Being Ernest) and Elizabeth Lazan (Fat Pig, DejaVu), or newcomers Rosie Mcgowan (Ragnarok, The Crucible) and Amanda Tee (Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
A second performance goes on concurrently each night, played by Amanda Tee and Rosie Mcgowan
The obviously skilled actors managed to weave in and out the aisles, and around tables and chairs with ease, despite the narrow constraints of the restaurant. Compared to a traditional stage performance, Mind Map of Love is more intimate, for audiences are up close to the actors as they possibly can (at times even on the same seat.) This is why the small space works – from the whirlwind of emotions to the raw intensity, from the despondent smile of Romeo’s to the disappointment etched on Juliet’s face, everything could be clearly observed.
Of course, for a truly gastronomical theatre experience, the food has to be excellent as well. Designed by Executive Chef Lorenz-Maria Griesser, the three-course menu features the best of Alpine cuisine. Starting with freshly mixed salad with caramelised goat cheese and a swordfish carpaccio, diners can expect a main course of tender veal cuts complemented with dried fruit and a beautiful potato leek puree, and a gorgeous lime parfait paired with spiced orange compote for dessert. If you’re worried about multi-tasking, the dishes are served in between breaks so there’s enough time to enjoy them before the actors resume.
What we liked most about Mind Map of Love is the endless possibilities. Whether the couple achieves solitude or redemption, or goes through a fickle love or romantic love, is entirely up to you. Witty, artistic, and downright captivating, Skinned Knee exposes love for everything it is: sexy, suffocating, romantic, and perhaps the best thing in the world.
Mind Map of Love runs 11 – 14 November (Wed to Sat), 8pm at ZOTT’s True Alps, 97 Amoy Street, Singapore 069917. Tickets are priced at $160 + $6.70 booking fee, inclusive of a gourmet 3 course meal (drinks are additional). Get them here.
Advisory: this show contains adult language and themes and sexual content.