'The Golden Dragon' by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Directed by Serge Seiden
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - Sunday, December 11, 2011
A kaleidoscopic look at a globalized world, this play by one of Germany’s most innovative and adventurous writers unfolds in brief and fierce comic scenes. Five actors cross age, race, and gender to play fifteen characters in this vicious, poetic, and surprisingly moving investigation of how intertwined our lives really are.
"Italian, Mexican, and Chinese (Cantonese) cuisines have indeed joined the mainstream. More than nine out of ten consumers are familiar with and have tried these foods, and about half report eating them frequently. The research also indicates that Italian, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines have become so adapted to such an extent that “authenticity” is no longer a concern to customers."
—Sue Hensley, American National Restaurant Association
Set in and around a “Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese fast food restaurant,” The Golden Dragon explores the effects of globalization on a personal level. Written by a German playwright, set in an unnamed Western city, and centered on a dining establishment that serves the food of various Asian cultures, this play examines the relationship between food, the culture it comes from, and the context it’s served in.
In fact, many so-called “ethnic” foods were actually adapted—and occasionally created—to fit American palettes at a particular time. Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. One day in 1943, the wives of a number of US soldiers stationed in Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip and arrived at the Victory Club restaurant after it had closed for the day. The maître d', Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, added cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, and added sliced jalapeño peppers. He served the dish, calling it Nachos Especiales. The name stuck.
Likewise, the “Chinese” fortune cookie is also an American invention. One competing legend of the fortune cookie suggests it was introduced in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, only to be pirated and popularized by a local Chinese restaurateur. Another version also gives the cookie a Japanese-American heritage, and contends the cookie is a descendent of the sembet, a flat, round, rice cracker.
The food people eat carries—and sometimes magnifies—the contradictions of its larger context. The evolution of food in the United States exemplifies any country where cultures collide. Food is a snapshot of an ever-changing culture, and colonization can work both ways: Indian tikka masala has become Great Britain’s unofficial national dish. As the world’s population continues to emigrate from one country to the next, a country’s national cuisine will continue to merge, evolve, and inform each other.
See more on the Studio Theatre website