Rich Ryan


How to Use a Knife

Every Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Sept. 29-Oct. 14
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Oct. 1-15
2 p.m.
Free on a first come, first served basis ($25 guaranteed reservations)
Food and Drink, Theater

Playwright Will Snider’s comedic drama How to Use a Knife ushers audiences into the common (albeit uncelebrated) hub of American multiculturalism: the restaurant kitchen. Under chaotic and cramped conditions, a half Puerto Rican chef is hired to oversee a busy Manhattan steak joint only to find his limited patience (not to mention his tenuous sobriety) tested by the endless grievances arising from his idiosyncratic staff. Among the kitchen co-workers are two affable Guatemalan line cooks, an American busboy/runner with artistic aspirations, and a quietly reserved dishwasher from Uganda. Amid the frenzied commotion of the kitchen, the diverse personalities play off one another with alternating measures of tension and relief, developing into a portrait of grudging respect and unlikely camaraderie. Providing a more ominous parallel to our daily reality, Snider introduces a pragmatic ICE agent whose investigation into undocumented workers threatens to tear apart the social fabric of the kitchen. Director Jesca Prudencio oversees an ensemble cast in this timely character study that convincingly asserts the notion that a key component to American society, like its cuisine, remains its wondrous diversity.