Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Tasters. It was by Meghan Brown, and it was directed by Devon de Mayo. It was about a group of women--Bianca (usually Paula Ramirez, Isabel Rivera when I saw it), Corrine (Daniella Pereira), and Elyse (Shariba Rivers) who were enlisted to taste all the food that was going to be later served to great leaders of the world. They are all put into this room together that they are not allowed to leave without supervision. The General (Eric Slater) is in charge of making sure that everything is in order and that the leaders will be safe. Lt. Sawyer (Collin Quinn Rice) is the person who feeds the women, and he tries to help them within the restrictions imposed by his bosses. Corrine is very bubbly and tries to please all of the higher-ups, but things get dire when Elyse, who is a leader of the revolution, shows up as a prisoner. It is about sacrifice, submission, and institutionalized discrimination. I really liked the story, the performances, and the immersive world.
The relationship between The General and Bianca was disconcerting. I feel like this relationship reflects troubling dynamics within society, specifically in the workplace. The General wanted Bianca to feel safe within the relationship, but because of the power dynamic (he is a person who can influence if she is going to live until the next day or not), she cannot really feel safe. In the first scene where we see them interact outside of the cell I noticed how normal The General was trying to make the meeting even though this situation was the least normal it could be. As the meeting continued and got more sexual, Bianca started to feel uncomfortable and once it had gone too far for her, she spoke up. The general tried to say it was okay and work around it so he could still get what he wanted, but she kept shutting him down until he started interrogating and yelling at her. Finally, she gave in out of fear. I thought that this scene exemplified exactly everything that was wrong with the relationship. Because he holds so much power and loves to use it, he brought the dynamic into the relationship to feel powerful. But because Bianca also knows how much safer she is, she doesn't want to lose that, so she does what he wants even if it isn't best for her. The general doesn't know how smart Bianca is and how she knows when she is being manipulated and can use that to her advantage. I also really liked having Lt. Sawyer as a character because he seemed so vulnerable and caring, but as the show progresses he starts to become more violent and unfriendly because he has to follow orders in order to climb the power ladder to safety. Having both of these characters in the story showed the "before and after" of how power changes people in a society run by hungry men.
People who would like this show are people who like strong female revolutionaries, projecting societal issues into a new storyline, and utopian mom talks. I think that this is a gorgeously written, directed, and performed show. It tells such a profound story in such a heartfelt and real way.
Photos: Michael Brosilow