Cooking the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
Performances: 16 & 17 September – 13:00, €15/€13
Other performance: 17 September – 15:15, €15/€13
Venue: The New Theatre
James Ireland (pronouns they/them) sits behind a table on which there is a chopping board, a knife, various small jars of herbs and spices and bottles of sauces. They begin by going to stage left and washing in a bowl of water their hands carefully. They talk with great enthusiasm of their favourite spot in the Wicklow mountains which is far away from the city. They explain that humans were hunters and gatherers but we “hunted our food off the face of the earth”. We then created agriculture but we are “making another catastrophe now”. It is against this backdrop they cook, with meticulous care, the vegan salmon of knowledge.
The principal ingredient is a large carrot which they peel and cut into slices. In a small container they then boil the slices in the liquids and herbs/ spices. When they are ready they meticulously place the slices on a board and then offers each member of the audience a slice. Before they offer the members of the audience to eat a slice they play briefly on their guitar.
They carry out their tasks with ritualistic care and you have a sense of watching a scene from an unknown ancient ceremony. However, their engaging smile which envelopes their face every now and again reassures you that you are in the company of a human whose humanity is their driving force not the orthodoxies of any ritual.
This understated piece of theatre regrettably only lasts just over thirty minutes but you are brought on a journey which is both simple and thought provoking. It could be extended into a larger spread.