By Kathy Carpenter
Lamb’s Players Theatre Presents The West Coast Premier of “Babette’s Feast.” Simple and effective. Giving us food for thought pondering the transformation of the lives before us. Written by Karen Blitzen under the per name Isak Dinesen. The Woman famous for writing Out Of Africa, and the woman who when Hemingway received The Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 for literature was one of the three people Hemingway said deserved the award more than he, Directed by Robert Smyth who kept Babette’s Feast on his adapt to stage list for many years.
Done in an usual fashion called presentational story-theatre style with an ensemble theatre company providing the narration. A difficult process for the actors I’m guessing. One this amazing troop handled flawlessly. The ensemble also handled multiple characters each. You could not ask for a better job from an ensemble.
The story takes place in 19th Century in Berlvag, a small village on the coast of Norway. The story of two sisters , their father is a pastor. Many suitors come to offer for the sisters hands but he turns them all down Then each of the sister have a chance have a chance at Love. Martine with a Cavalry officer, who is mesmerized at first sight. But after joining in with their congregation it is he who runs away. “Phillipa who when an Parisian Opera star who ha come to the village for solace. When he hears her angelic voice at mass offers to train her. The music they sing is so beautiful it is almost my favorite part of the sow. His strong baritone and her operatic tones. It is Philippa who runs this time when he gives her a kiss. Both daughters stay with their father living a simple life.
After their father dies they continue his work. But after many years the congregation is dwindling with only a few old faithful remaining. Babette arrives on their doorstep after fleeing a war torn Paris. She is bedraggles but has a letter from Philippa’s old flame the opera singer asking to give her refuge. Even though they have little they take Babette in to cook and clean for them. They teach her the simple fare that sustains them. Babette soon becomes a village favorite getting the sisters the best deals. After twelve year’s she hits the French lotto for $10,000 francs.
Before she leaves town she wants to make the sisters and the congregation a celebration dinner for their father’s 100th birthday. At first they say no. Is a sin to have anything grand, But in the end Babette convinces them to accept her offer gracefully.
When the sister see all the lavish food coming end the worry and go to the others. Where they decide to eat the food but remain silent not to praise or act as if the are enjoying the fare. Another guests comes at the last minute the Cavalry love of Martine. He is now general and married to another. He has tasted food like this before one other time at a famous Paris Cafe, and sings the foods praises. Drink is also served, tongues are loosed and everyone truly enjoys themselves. Babette’s feast severs to show how good food can transform people hearts and the atmosphere where people are gathered.
It said after people watched the movie they fled to restaurants. After watching the play, one woman behind me wanted to go cook some good food, another wanted to go eat, and another talked about food she had recently made. For my well. I was hungry. In the movie I imagine they use real food, In the play we use our imagination. Although the set is of a great kitchen set up with baskets, pans and such, set on a great counter atop some white cement steps. Shelves underneath and a counter behind filled with everything a kitchen might need back then,
Babette us played by the fabulous Yolanda Marie Franklin Such a joy to behold.
Put away the electronics and indulge in something to give you a more peaceful frame of mind.
Jan 10 – Feb 16, 2020
Lamb’s Player Theatre
Feb 29 – April 12, 2020
A Wondrous Musical!