Theatre Class 'Cooks Up' Bicultural Thanksgiving

The "banquet" with sesame-date balls in the foreground (Styrofoam, paint, and modpode) by Madison Dingman, '17.
Maegan Hopper, '17, made rutabagas (clay, cellophane, Crayola markers, glue, paint).
Theatre major Peter Verhaeghe, '15, made a turkey (Styrofoam, cheesecloth, paint).
"Cooking" with clay: Brittney DeShano's green bean casserole; Ashley Tice's mashed potatoes; Kelsey Sandahl's kibbeh.
Meat kabobs by Maggie Wallace, '16 (Styrofoam, paint, wooden skewers).

November 26, 2014 | By Jake Weber | Photos by Allison McCarthy, '17, and Bob Starko

A treat for the eyes—if not for the tongue—shows the creative talents of students in Amber Cook's Theatrical Prop and Costume Craft class. Their Thanksgiving Banquet installation, created from a class assignment, is on display through the end of the semester in front of Herrick Theatre.

Cook's assignment was simple: create "food" from non-perishable, non-edible ingredients, an important skill in her profession. "Theatres often use 'fake food' because it can be more cost-effective, less wasteful, and certainly less odiferous as the run of a show stretches on," she explains.

The students produced dishes central to holiday meals for Americans and Iraqis, inspired by Here, Bullet, Albion's 2014 Common Reading Experience, written by an Iraq War veteran.

"Author Brian Turner’s imagery of a war-torn country is also rife with beautiful imagery of the landscape, the people, and of course, the food," Cook notes. "Through this, it became easy to imagine a table representative of both Iraqi and American cultures. These may seem worlds apart, but at the same table it becomes evident that we have more in common than we might think."

The course participants range from theatre majors and minors to students fulfilling an artistic expression requirement. "I was given stuffing, because I didn't have much experience and this seemed easier to do," says exercise science major Megan LaCavera, '16. "I defintely had some struggles with mixing paint, especially because it looked very different when I started to put it on the Styrofoam."

Nonetheless, "it gives me a different perspective from my other classes," LaCavera says. "It's fun and relaxing and challenging at the same time."