It is also a play about food. Food isn't only about nourishment and fuel. Food brings people together at times of celebration and mourning. Food teaches you about a people the way music, language and art does. We can keep all kinds of secrets and rewrite history, but what you eat and how you eat it reveals your truth. My mother is a wonderful cook. She makes delicious meals from scratch with fresh herbs and vegetables from our garden. When the sweet and savory aromas permeated the air, my brother, sister and I sped up our chores, abandoned our studies or happily set playtime aside to gather around the kitchen table to eat. Other times, we'd be at her side stealing tastes and watching her transform carefully selected ingredients into culinary masterpieces.
The title character, Beverly Snow, is a masterful chef and savvy owner of the Epicurean Eating House, a lively and popular restaurant that offered patrons a new way of dining. Nicely situated at the corner of 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the Epicurean was a Parisian-style restaurant with private tables, not the common table that had people reaching over one another for food. Snow also created an elegant and extensive menu with a variety of European influenced foods whereas diners were accustomed to a choice of just one or two meals. The Centre Market was located just a stone's throw away between Seventh and Ninth streets, so fresh ingredients were always on hand. What's more, the Epicurean was open from lunch through dinner and into the evening, which was not the norm at the time. Snow even catered large events and advertised new dishes in the widely read newspaper, the Telegraph. He was a brilliant and wildly successful entrepreneur ahead of his time and that can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Click here to learn more about the Snow Riot.
It's been fun to explore the world of Washington, DC in the mid 1800s. I'm excited about tonight's reading and look forward to learning more about the characters and the world of the play.
Active Cultures presents a staged reading of
OUR MAN BEVERLY SNOW by Jacqueline E. Lawton
as part of the annual Diving Board Festival
Directed by Colin Grube
Dramaturgy by Otis Ramsey-Zoe
Featuring Maryam Foye, Eric Humphries, James J. Johnson, Julian Elijah Martinez, Dane Petersen, Colin Smith, Dawn Ursula and David Lamont Wilson
About the play
With a Parisian flare and a taste for elegance, Beverly Snow, owner of the popular Epicurean Eating House, dished out a healthy dose of wit, a decent pour of ale, and such delicacies as green turtle soup, fried oysters and West Indian jellies to Washington’s high society and political elite. Five dollars had bought his freedom and after five long years, Snow had achieved a level of success unmatched by his peers. All was going well for this hard-working free man of color until one fateful night in the fall of 1835. A young slave entered his owner’s bedroom wielding an ax and a surging wave of violence and destruction makes its way to the Epicurean Eating House. Suddenly, Snow finds himself embroiled in racial, political and social upheaval in this mid-19th century drama.
Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm
Old Parish House, located at 4711 Knox Road College Park, MD
Metro Station: College Park Metro (Green).
Click here for directions and parking information.
When this play goes into production, I'm going to create a cookbook of favorite recipes from our cast and artistic/production team. For now, here's some delicious food for thought from today's Artistic Team and Cast:
Our Man Beverly Snow Artistic Team
Your favorite meal to eat: Salmon burger, kale, and brown rice
Your favorite meal from childhood: Mama's pizza and enchilada's and Papa's bar-b-que.
Your favorite dessert: mango sorbet or plain mangos
Your favorite drink or cocktail:
Your favorite meal to cook: Thanksgiving turkey, or dinner
Your favorite meal to eat: Buffalo wings and beer.
Your favorite meal from childhood: My mom's spaghetti
Your favorite dessert: Tiramisu
Your favorite drink or cocktail: Scotch
Your favorite meal to cook: vegetable fried rice
Your favorite meal to eat: anything prepared by Carmen W., Tuyet P., or George F.
You favorite meal from childhood: love cornbread; anything with cornbread especially buttermilk & cornbread
Your favorite dessert: tiramisu, fruit, or popcorn
Your favorite cocktail or drink: mint julep and dark & stormy
Our Man Beverly Snow Cast
Your favorite meal to cook: Fried Chicken Cutlets, Sweet Yams, Fried Mac and Cheese, Sauteed Spinach
Your favorite meal to eat: Turkey Necks, Rice and Gravy and Collards
Your favorite meal from childhood: Turkey Necks Rice and Gravy and Collards Pan fried cornmeal cakes
Your favorite dessert: Any Cheesecake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Anything Bourbon with water with a splash of simple syrup... when I'm feeling fancy I make a mint julep
Your favorite meal to cook: Chicken Parmesan
Your favorite meal to eat: Brunch at this New Orleans restaurant where I consume Fried French Toast sprinkled with powdered sugar and a strawberry with eggs and sausage
Your favorite meal from childhood: My grand pops famous chili
Your favorite dessert: Mango and sticky rice
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Framboiuse Lambic beer
Your favorite meal to cook: Chili
Your favorite meal to eat: Hot dogs
Your favorite meal from childhood: Ham and my late grandmother's mac & cheese.
Your favorite dessert: Peanut Butter & Chocolate cheesecake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: Root beer.
Your favorite meal to cook: Steak
Your favorite meal to eat: Hamburger and fries
Your favorite meal from childhood: Thanksgiving, the entire event
Your favorite dessert: Berry cobbler with a side of ice cream
Your favorite drink or cocktail: Dark and Stormy
Your favorite meal to cook: jambalaya (I use a box - I'm not a magician)
Your favorite meal to eat: whatever I'm eating at that moment
Your favorite meal from childhood: fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn on the cob
Your favorite dessert: chocolate fudge brownie ice cream
Your favorite cocktail or drink: gin and tonic
Favorite meal to cook: Grilled Salmon
Favorite meal to eat: Chicken Tikka Masala
Favorite meal from childhood: Raw oysters with cocktail sauce.
Favorite dessert: Angel Food cake with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.
Favorite drink: Jack and diet coke.
Your favorite meal to cook: Good ole-fashioned, southern, throw down: fry some chicken and gizzards (yes I did), some collards, some candied yams and maybe a home-made corn pudding, like when you scrape the corn off the actual ear (then add a can of cream corn, cause scraping gets old quick)
Your favorite meal to eat: I do appreciate a good steak or some fabulous shellfish
Your favorite meal from childhood: Probably spaghetti
Your favorite dessert: Many favorites depending on mood: chocolate lava, creme brulee, triple leche, scoop of dulce de leche ice cream, Auntie Sheila's home made chocolate cake, eaten hot with the home made icing still dripping.....I have a sweet tooth
Your favorite cocktail or drink: cosmo or a sweet wine wine
Your favorite meal to cook: baked salmon, asparagus
Your favorite meal to eat: baked salmon, asparagus
Your favorite meal from childhood: lasagna
Your favorite dessert: strawberry shortcake
Your favorite cocktail or drink: whiskey sour