Dine through time, place: Evening of Shakespeare paired with wine, food at Silk Road Restaurant

Dine through time, place: Evening of Shakespeare paired with wine, food at Silk Road Restaurant

Jay Pyette

March 26, 2010, by Joe Nickell, Missoulian

Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used.

So said Shakespeare, through the mouth of the villain Iago in “Othello.” And so will prove Montana Actors’ Theatre and the Silk Road Restaurant, in an innovative evening of wine, food and theatre next Monday night at the Crystal Theater.

The event – the second collaboration in as many months between the local theatre company and its front-door neighbor at 515 S. Higgins Ave. – aims to highlight food and wine from various countries, paired with Shakespearean scenes set in those same countries.

“The Silk Road likes to do these ‘Ports of Call’ dinners with food from specific regions, and we’ve been looking for ways to collaborate with them,” explained Grant Olson, artistic director for MAT. “And since Shakespeare set his plays in so many different locations, it seemed like something that could work.”

Indeed, with scenes set in six European countries – and cuisine and wines from the same regions – the night promises a wide-ranging feast for the senses.

First up is the play-within-a-play from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” paired with a Greek Mazza Plate. Then it’s off to Italy for a sampling of “Julius Caesar” accompanied by a timpano of Italian sausage, meatballs, eggs, ziti and three cheeses enveloped in a fresh pasta crust.

“Henry V” and coq au vin give a taste of France; Macbeth and haggis evoke Scotland; “Henry IV Part I” and an English leek salad represent the Bard’s homeland.

And, lest “thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes” (again to quote Shakespeare), it’ll all finish off with a sprinkling of “Hamlet” alongside a bittersweet chocolate pot de crème with port-soaked cherries and candied rosemary.

The staged program will feature familiar faces from MAT’s company, including Olson, Jim Badcock and Brandon Johnson.

“I think for a lot of people, the idea of dinner theater conjures up images of poorly done theater,” said Olson. “We don’t want to do that, so it’s tricky to find the right shows where you can serve food without it being cheesy. Fortunately, Shakespeare definitely isn’t cheesy.”

The one-night event kicks off a week that sees another special event in the form of a brief return run of Laramie Dean’s “Othernatural,” a one-man play about Dean’s experience growing up homosexual in eastern Montana.

MAT presented the play at the Crystal last October for a one-week run, and decided to bring it back at the request of several people who missed the production, said Olson.

“It’s really theatrical, a touching piece of work,” said Olson. “It’s fun, he writes in a very comic way. So I think it really connected for the people who saw it, and we’re glad to be able to bring it back for a few nights.”


© 2022 Montana Actors' Theatre