Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover at Faena Theatre Miami Beach | An Immersing Emotional Experience
As Alan Faena said, “Life is theatre.” And indeed, Faena Theatre’s latest production Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, based on the original British film directed by Peter Greenaway, starring Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon, is an immersive experience where you become a part of the play.
Upon arriving at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, located on the oceanfront at Faena Arts District, you must take a moment to delight yourself with the elegantly rich and sophisticated interiors of this luxurious property. The hotel’s theatrical expression – blended with South American-inspired tropical design elements – is filled with art everywhere, becoming an artistic statement and a cultural hub itself.
The beautiful Faena Theatre, which currently can be seen on Amazon’s series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season three, follows the hotel’s decor expanded into old-Hollywood golden age revival. Prior to the start of the show, the theatre personnel who are actually actors, cordially escort you to a cocktail reception, setting up your expectations for what you are about to experience.
Dressed in retro red uniforms, actors walk around the theatre foyer, which is covered in abstract-red walls and a mirrored ceiling, engaging with all guests while you are enjoying a glass of Champagne and hors d’oeuvres offered by the staff. The ambiance starts to feel animated when suddenly you hear a strong whistle! All attention goes to the opening doors where guests are invited to enter the theatre and proceed to their tables and take their seats.
Welcome to Le Hollandais restaurant! The cabaret-like setting is arranged throughout the entire theatre, facing the center of the space where the tables are located between different dynamic leveled platforms. There is also individual seating on the mezzanine. As you sit and make yourself comfortable, you notice the sounds of a live music band playing different melodies. Several performers come to your table to welcome you and to give you a short briefing about what they want you to know about the play. The atmosphere is cheerful, the personnel is wonderful, guests are ordering their drinks when… unexpectedly you tremble from hearing voices screaming, “fu%*k off” as you witness a fight.
A few seconds after you realize, the performance has really begun, although, after a while, you understand that it started long ago. Be ready for an emotional rollercoaster, the evening is full of contrasting and surprising events. The Cook (Thiana Berrick), personally presents each dish of the delicious three-course menu crafted by executive chef Cornel Ruland. While you focus on enjoying your meal, the drama happening around you makes you literally part of the story. The menu for starters offers a fresh and lemony Ceviche, very reinvigorating, especially after The Thief (Donal Brophy) arrives with The Wife (Kristin Guerin) and sits on the highest positioned table in the middle of his restaurant. During the main course, which is Beef Wellington with pulled steak fillet wrapped in puff pastry, tender and lighter than the traditional recipe, The Lover (Parker Murphy) hooks up with The Wife in front of everyone. As the story unfolds, and by the time your dessert arrives, you have tapped into each feeling of your emotional scale.
During the entire experience, you are emotionally involved with the rawness, intimacy, and brutality of this fantasy, which, in the end, feels like reality. Besides being present and interacting within the play, what sets apart this production from the original feature is its musical aspect. The diverse cast is telling and accompanying the evolving narrative with well-known and new songs as well as dancing choreography.