Innovative Montreal circus troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (“The 7 Fingers”) begins its monthlong residency at ArtsEmerson with the U.S. debut of Cuisine & Confessions, a culinarily inspired circus show playing at the Cutler Majestic Theatre July 12-Aug. 7. Co-director Shana Carroll chatted with us about what the team is cooking up.
What can audiences expect? It’s a circus show with wonderful acrobatics, dancing, music and storytelling, but it also has live cooking on stage. We share the food with the audience while the performers tell autobiographical stories about their childhood and heritage through cooking. The audience learns about the artist on stage while also having a visceral recollection through the smells of the cooking. It is an interesting exercise to figure out your life through food.
What inspired you to explore childhood stories through food and the kitchen? My husband, co-director Sébastien Soldevila, is very passionate about food, so I suggested we make a cooking show. And I love to listen to storytelling podcasts, which is where the autobiographical undertones come from. I think all of our shows have that storytelling aspect, but for Cuisine & Confessions, there are moments where we add sound bites from interviews with the performers to the soundtrack for their numbers.
How will the performers deliver the sense of taste and smell throughout the entire theater? In the pre-show of the performance, the audience is invited on stage to help cut the vegetables. They can already smell things cooking in the oven, so you have that sense right in the beginning. Toward the end of the show, we bake banana bread, which can be smelled throughout the theater. Then there are other moments where we invite individual audience members on stage to eat the food, such as the omelet act when the performers cook an omelet by throwing the eggs and juggling the whisks.