Moving into Spring, yesterday was gloomy and rainy. Nicolo had tickets to an intriguing immersive theatre event called “Confections” by Third Rail Projects, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC, which houses the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare-related materials. The main exhibit in the Library was “Before ‘Farm to Table:’ Early Modern Foodways and Cultures;” a perfect introduction which we perused before the performance. The show began at 8:00, and we were appropriately hungry!
It’s hard to describe the experience, as it was so rich and personal. After a charming strip-tease introduction (from Elizabethan finery to chemises) where we stood around a long, long banquet table populated by the five actors (3 men and 2 women) in slow-motion shifting states of undress, the 48 audience members were divided into three groups of 16 and led into other rooms (normally closed to the public) in the labyrinthine Tudor mansion, where we experienced various exquisite vignettes and personal interactions with the cast—all around the central theme of the sugary confections enjoyed by the nobility during the Age of Exploration and the era of Shakespeare—and the human price of those feasts via the slave trade to supply cane sugar from prison camp “plantations” in the Caribbean. For those lovely tiered cakes, pastries, and outlandish feasts that grew obsessively popular among the aristocracy as more ingredients from the colonies became available were made possible only through the enslavement of African people.
And finally, all the audience and actors were reunited to sit at the great banquet table, to “let them eat cake!”
Afterwards, we got a late dinner at China Chilcano, a Peruvian Asian restaurant in Chinatown, DC. Quite a celebration of the Equinox!
Today I’m leaving Nicolo and Joanne and their lovely Imagine Acres for a two-hour drive to Richmond, where I’ll be staying for a couple of days with Micheline Vogt. On Sat. we’ll be conducting the Ostara ritual at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, where I’ll be telling stories of Spring Equinox—and the Goddess in whose name we still celebrate the holiday of Easter.
Sunday I’ll be visiting my long-time sweetheart Jeanné, who I met and loved at the Maryland Renaissance Festival in 1982, when I was touring with the Unicorns (the same year I met Nicolo and later, Dona). Jeanné is a fabulous cook, and she’s preparing a special Medieval feast for a small group to which I’m invited.. She lives in Crownsville, MD, a 2 hr. 20-min. drive from Richmond.