Sharpening Your (Acting) Skills

Imagine getting cast in a role as a cook …when you don’t cook.

Now, there are some things you can learn in an acting class, but mad knife skills are not among them. But that’s just what the cast of Clyde’s had to quickly learn (yep…just said “quickly” and “knife” in the same breath) to prepare for their roles.

Actors Sebastián Arroyo, Katherine George, Quinn M. Johnson and Sekou Laidlow portray formerly incarcerated individuals who are trying to piece their lives back together at the only place that would hire them. Clyde’s is a dead end truck stop diner in Reading, Pennsylvania owned by its tough-as-nails namesake, Clyde, played by Brianna Buckley.

The former inmates painstakingly work to create a sandwich masterpiece, which required the DCPA Theatre Company’s production team to design and build a top notch kitchen on stage in the Kilstrom Theatre.

Now the Kilstrom, as loyal patrons know, is a theatre-in-the-round where pretty much everything is exposed to the audience. That’s to say that there’s not a lot of opportunity to fake it ’til you make it or, in this case, fake it until you nick your finger and call for a band-aid from the stagehand.

So this team of actors-turned-chefs took a little visit to see Chef Jake and his team at Jovanina’s Broken Italian restaurant over on Blake Street. The cast got a firsthand look inside a working kitchen before picking up the tools of the trade to get their five-star knife-skills lesson.

Over a two-day visit at the restaurant, the cast had the opportunity to step into the kitchen and learn about proper food preparation, dynamics between kitchen staff, and most importantly, how to hold and use a knife properly to avoid injury. The visit to the restaurant also provided inspiration for some of the props that will be seen on stage.

While not quite ready to trade one night job for another, the actors left with a sense of preparation for their roles and confidence that they can slice and dice up the ingredients for a tasty sandwich with the best of them.

Oct 27 – Nov 26, 2023 • Kilstrom Theatre