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February 17, 2016
Culture

Getting lost in Post Dining

What started as a dinner party thrown seasonally by Hannah Rohrlach and Stephanie Daughtry has evolved into a sold out Adelaide Fringe show.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Pictures: Lauren Bezzina

Stephanie Daughtry and Hannah Rohrlach have a well developed appreciation for food.

Remarks

Post Dining’s Fringe season runs February 18 – March 11 and is sold out. Information about future endeavours can be found at the website.

Hannah – a dietician, and Steph – an arts professional,  both understand that eating can be about more than putting a series of nutrients into your body.

“Food instigates relationships and experiences. It’s surprising and delightful and unexpected,” says Hannah.

Post Dining is built around this belief. The two-hour immersive show is structured as a ten-course dessert degustation menu with matched drinks, but draws in elements like live music, performance art, soundtrack and set dressing to take it beyond the realm of simple dining.

“It’s food as an event and an experience. A lot of our courses are designed to instigate a reaction from the the guests,” says Steph.

“We’re not just serving them a nice meal – it’s nice, but it’s also creating a reaction.”

“For example, if you don’t have a visual indication for what you’re eating, the human brain just can’t work it out. People often don’t recognise what they’re eating but they do recognise a memory or experience linked to that flavour, so they’ll start talking about that product or experience.”

The concept started out as a dinner party held for friends. Hannah and Steph would construct a menu from seasonal ingredients and create an atmosphere through set dressing to match. It was something they often talked about doing on a larger scale, but it would probably have taken much longer to develop the show had they not received an Adelaide Fringe Cultural Fund grant.

With the $5000 of funding they have been able to bring on board other artists to work alongside, book interesting venues and more thoroughly explore the flavour palate of the show.

The resultant 10-person degustations are a long way from the original dinner parties, but still hold true to the ideal of creating an interesting and intimate experience mediated by food.

Artists like performer Luke Wilcox, band The Coconut Kids and electronic violinist Frank Giles have been engaged to respond to and elicit reactions from the audience throughout the evening’s experience, and native and local ingredients have emerged as strong flavour themes for the menu.

“In the process of finalising the menu we’ve discovered flavours that we never even knew existed, so that’s become more of a focus for us,” says Steph

“The native ingredients are a big part of this now…We’re thinking about what Australian flavours we can use to express our ideas,” adds Hannah.

The pair plan to continue performing and evolving the work and concept after their sold-out Fringe run, so punters without tickets will still have an opportunity to be part of the experience in the future. But for those who do have a ticket to this debut season, there’s still a little mystery remaining.

“It’s exciting because we’ve constructed this space where things will happen, but we’re not actually too concerned with what actually happens in the end,” says Steph. “It’s more about allowing room for our audience and performers to create their own experience as they want to.”

 

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