Invasive Species is a Core 5 Culinary Incident that was installed and performed at the University of Maine and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.
Having completed the memory trilogy in the three previous Culinary Incidents, we chose to explore a number of issues in Invasive Species, including memory, life, death, and being, using a more experimental approach than the shows in the trilogy. The production incorporated a number of elements we had previously considered including in other Culinary Incidents but had, for whatever reason, not made the cut previously. These included limiting the performance to being led by a single actor, building a more dynamic media environment, and utilizing a fully mobile setting.
Invasive Species explored the concept of what it means to belong to the community and culture of Maine through storytelling, environment, and food. Many people from Maine have strong ideas about the differences between ‘natives’ and people ‘from away’ that are based around protecting local culture. For this performance, the audiences arrived to a setting reminiscent of being on a Maine river at night as the moon reflected off of the water. Seated in canoes, each facing each other with a table in between, the audience was encouraged to strike up a game of cribbage as they wait. The actress led the audience through stories of a life recently passed while generative imagery was projected based on her improvised reflections on the events of her life. Twisted versions of local comfort foods, including corn chowder, baked beans, haddock cakes, shepherds (China) pie, and whoopie pies, were served between stories and became integral to the overall storytelling effort.