MY DINNER WITH ANDRE
This performance is exactly what its title sounds like: a full meal and wine served alongside the longest dinner scene in film history, with a menu taken directly from the film.
In the film, the characters Andre and Wally order the following items: terrine de poisson (fish pâté), cailles aux raisins (roasted quail with raisins), bramborová polévka (a hearty potato mushroom soup), a small green salad and bread to accompany each entrée, red wine, after-dinner espresso and a shot of amaretto.
In the performance, we serve to the audience these same items (or approximations thereof, according to dietary restrictions) at the exact same time as they are served in the film. The space is made to resemble the restaurant in the film, with identical table settings and muzak (Satie’s “Gymnopédie No.1”), and audience members are seated as they would be at a restaurant. Other events are also precisely timed to coincide with events in the film: appearances and disappearances of waitstaff, periodic check-ins, removal of dishes, flowers and other items from tables, etc.
Our intent was to get a mix of people (from fans of My Dinner With Andre to those who’d never seen it) to engage in a novel way with one of cinema’s most notoriously tedious works (while also experiencing directly the tedium of meal preparation/serving according to a strict timecode) and to explore how pacing, continuity and interruption (both within the film and during its screening) can serve to structure events. We also sought to embody a problem addressed by the characters in the film to do with the possibility of becoming more fully present with the people around us while also engaged in a mediated art performance.