After showcasing at the 42nd St. Collective and Don't Tell Mama, David Caudle's Hell's Cuisinart receives its first full production at off-Broadway's Samuel Beckett Theatre. Presented by Scenic Wonders Productions and directed by Andrew Volkoff, it begins previews July 24, opens July 27 and runs through August 10.
Hell's Cuisinart is about 14 people living in five studio apartments in a Hell's Kitchen building or, "a Hell's Kitchen appliance that processes people," Caudle told Playbill On-Line. The play took shape when Caudle, a Miami native, moved into a Hell's Kitchen apartment himself. "I was working on a lot of scripts and the conflicts were polarized, they all had similar feeling," Caudle said, "So why not put them in this building and connect them with a rickety fire escape?"
Caudle said of living in New York, "there's so much going on around you," but at the same time, "you're inside a bubble because there's too much to process." The rickety fire escape connects Caudle's characters physically but also symbolically, "The basic underlying theme is that they're all looking for connection, something to belong to." Hell's Cuisinart is "a dramedy" Caudle said, "it's a quirky comedy, it's a little darker." The characters "are pretty desperate."
The play opens and closes with the same two characters, a young couple "that New York hasn't written on yet." They check out one of the apartments but don't take it. In the end, "they come back because New York is affecting them," Caudle said.
Caudle's one-act play Landfill, about two sisters on their way to a medieval wedding in costume when they are stranded at a landfill, is in post-production as a short film. A full length film of Hell's Cuisinart is also in the works. His full-length comedy Swing Low! will have a staged reading in Atlanta this fall. Caudle is glad to have Hell's Cuisinart produced in a real theatre, where it is "more fully realized," and has "more of a set" than it did in its original cabaret setting. The set is designed by Steve and Jana Thompson with lighting design by Chief Gonzalez.
For tickets or more information call (212) 332-0894.
--By Laura MacDonald