The Don Effect opens tonight



By Jennifer J. Kilbourne

Donna uses all the right ingredients. She copied the recipe down perfectly. She bakes them until they’re just the right shade of golden brown, and the biscuits still just don’t taste like Nanny’s. Her problem is a common one. So common in fact, it has a name: The Don Effect. It’s also the name of Goat in the Road Productions’ newest show, which opens tonight at the Candle Factory (4537 N. Robertson St.).

The dance-theater piece follows six characters grappling with the all-too-human desire to recreate things that are gone. A pair of dance archivists is on a mission to recreate the work of a recently deceased choreographer. Donna is determined to get her grandmother’s biscuits right. She thinks her problem is solved when Comfort Foods Inc. announces a new food additive, Tastes Like Grandma’s, which is scientifically proven to make anything taste the way you remember it, at the expense of emotional authenticity.

“It leaves the audience with a question: Is it better to let things die, or, are we killing it by trying to recreate it?” says production manager Rebecca Chapman. “A ‘don effect’ represents the variables that change a family recipe or a dance piece from what it originally was to what it is now.”

Writer/director Rachel Carrico says she chose food and dance as motifs because, “Both dancing and cooking/eating are very sensorial, embodied experiences. Moving through the motions in the kitchen to cook a dish is a highly choreographed experience; and creating a dance, as Pina Bausch put it, is something ‘You have to digest. I don’t know what will come out.’”

Goat in the Road invites the audience to share recipes via the show’s blog at or at the box office. Audience members also can donate kitchen artifacts for inclusion in The Don Effect’s upcoming exhibit at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum slated to open in September. After each performance theatergoers are invited to join the cast for biscuits and snoballs. (Shows are at 9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, June 10 – 13)

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