ST. PAUL — Playwright Rachel Jendrzejewski invites the public to participate in “The Stranger Stranger Supper Series”, a unique string of ‘performative’ meals at three restaurants along University Avenue in St. Paul. The event is free with the purchase of beverage or food.
Supported by Irrigate Arts, the project is designed to build business and community amidst the Central Corridor Light Rail construction work. The suppers will take place at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro on Tuesday, January 15; HOMI Restaurante Mexicano on Tuesday, January 22; and Little Szechuan Chinese Restaurant & Bar on Wednesday, January 23. All performances begin at 6 p.m.
For each event, up to six members of the public can receive a “character” created by Jendrzejewski; then they come together for supper as those characters. Whatever happens is the performance. No acting experience is necessary to participate. These “main characters” will be selected by lottery and enjoy their meals free of charge. Those interested in playing a “main character” can find submission details at http://strangerstrangersuppers.wordpress.com/participate.
Anybody else is welcome to dine at the restaurants to watch the encounters unfold or even interact with them, perhaps inventing additional characters. These guests will be responsible for their own dining expenses. Reservations are recommended. A schedule with contact information for each restaurant can be found at http://strangerstrangersuppers.wordpress.com/partners.
In addition to offering the public a festive opportunity to support local businesses by exploring new restaurants – or visiting old favorites in a new light – the project invites questions about performance in everyday life. The characters at each dinner may or may not be obvious. People unaffiliated with the series may dine at the restaurants during the events. It will be up to individuals to determine who is “acting” and who is not. What is “art” versus “real life”? Is there perhaps, sometimes, little difference?
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro is a modern Vietnamese restaurant that was established with the idea of providing authentic Vietnamese dishes using local and sustainable ingredients. Their seasonal dishes stay true to the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine, while providing a contemporary twist to traditional dishes. http://ngonbistro.com
HOMI Restaurante Mexicano opened in 2010. Using family recipes from both Mexico and the United States, HOMI takes pride in making everything on the spot and from scratch—from the beans “de olla” that become fried beans, to the handmade empanadas and chiles rellenos, to the salsa and chips that come with every meal. http://www.homirestaurant.com
Little Szechuan Chinese Restaurant & Bar brings you the culinary art and flavors of traditional Szechuan (Sichuan) Chinese cuisine. With over 100 unique dishes created for you by top ranked Chinese chefs originally from Sichuan province, Little Szechuan offers a unique dining experience that will forever transform your perception of Chinese cuisine. http://littleszechuan.com
Rachel Jendrzejewski (yen-shzay-EFF-skee) is a playwright and performance artist based in Minneapolis. She has written, performed and otherwise collaborated on performance, film, music, and public art projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her latest project, a new dance-theater collaboration with SuperGroup, will be part of the Walker Art Center’s Momentum: New Dance Works 2013.http://rachelka.com.
Irrigate Arts is an artist-led creative placemaking initiative spanning the six miles of the Central Corridor Light Rail line in Saint Paul during the years of its construction. Artists collaborate with businesses, organizations and community groups to change the landscape of the corridor with color, art, surprise, creativity and fun. Irrigate is a partnership between the City of Saint Paul, Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Springboard for the Arts. http://irrigatearts.org
For more information, including how to participate, visit http://strangerstrangersuppers.wordpress.com.