Adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was a original theatrical adaptation by Natsu Onoda-Power. Produced by the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts, the show takes the audience through an interactive exploration of the Davis Performing Arts Center, where audience members can “hunt for performances” using a provided map of the building. Many of the site-specific performances were created by students and refined through workshopping and rehearsal with Onoda-Power.
In addition to designing the map, I also created several lobby displays for the show that featured large-scale mosaics of corn images, which—when viewed from afar—created the image of everyday household products that you didn’t know had corn in it. Some of these products included Febreze, a Big Mac, and Aspirin. These images highlight the unsettling presence of corn—in its various man-manipulated forms—in the most everyday of items.
the lobby displays featuring large-scale mosaics of corn images
I was also an ensemble member of the show, playing a wide range of characters, from a “greedy panda” (with a monocle) to a sweater-vest wearing potato expert (who also happened to be called “Potato”). Along with other ensemble members Amelia Powell, Courtney Ulrich, and Justine Underhill, I created a performance that adapted the iconic Japanese arcade game of pachinko into a game of “live food pinball,” showing audience members what the consequences (intentional and unintentional) of certain food habits and/or lifestyles.
In the “Meal of Fortune,” you can play a pinball game. If you end up with the “poverty” coin, you’re relegated to fast food options since it’s all you can afford. (The prize is diabetes.) (PBS Art Beat)
The feasible adventure begins in Georgetown’s Gonda Theatre, with the cast of 16 actors explaining to the audience that this will not be a traditional theatrical experience. Patrons will be given a map and instructed to roam the performing arts building “foraging for theater.” The nine site-specific installations include the “Meal of Fortune,” a studio reconfigured like a giant pinball machine. Ricochet through and discover just how easy it is to rack up calories. The eerily pink-painted “Behind the Seas: Salmon” will make you wish any sockeye you eat swam free in Alaska, not a salmon farm. And then, tucked away in a small hallway, hung low with HVAC piping, is the “Planet of the Corn.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
(Photos by Rafael Suanes)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma Production Credits (2011):
DIRECTOR Natsu Onoda-Power
ENSEMBLE Tenaya Campbell // Laurel Charnetsky // Emma Clark //
Lorraine Damerau // Maria Edmundson // Chris Gleason // Jeremy Guyton //
Betsy Helmer // Adrian Iglesias // Swedian Lie // Nehemiah Markos //
Whitney McAniff // Justin McCarthy // Amelia Powell // Courtney Ulrich //
Justine Underhill // Thuy Tran
STAGE MANAGER Alex Aki
SCENIC & LIGHTING DESIGN Robbie Hayes
PROJECTION DESIGN Brian Lignelli
COSTUME DESIGN Elise Lemle & Lauren Cucarola