Jam & Jelly: Dinner and a Show

Food is my favorite part of experiencing other
cultures. Being the glutton that I am my goal is to try
food from every corner of this earth, so it’s a good thing
that we live in a city like Philadelphia. For students and
thrifty spenders across the city, Philly Restaurant Week
is a great time to experience the restaurants our city has
to offer on a budget. This year restaurant week spanned
from September 15th to September 27th. Without ever
stepping onto an airplane, one can be transported across
the globe in a single bite. At Opa, I was transported to

At 1311 Samson Street in Center City, the interior of the
restaurant is rustic and intimate. For the first course I had an easy
go-to of mine, kalamari. It was wonderful, but the highlight of my
entire meal was the keftedes— beef meatballs covered in tomato
sauce and sprinkled with cheese. To say the least, the
meal started on a very good foot. The next course was lamb chops
with sautéed vegetables, finishing the meal off with a favorite
dessert of mine, baklava! Everything was cooked to perfection,
and the baklava was flaky with just the right amount of sweet.
The food was delicious, and the servers were attentive, my only
words of caution with this restaurant (which is no secret, the wait
staff does make you aware before ordering), is that they make use
of ‘free flowing kitchen’ service, sending the food out as soon as
it’s ready. This is usually not a problem, but one of our entrees did

come very much after the other. This did not go unnoticed to man-
agement and wait staff, and they appropriately rectified this and

got the food to us promptly. Mistakes like this happen at restur-
ants and they are very forgivable, and we were still able to make

our show after dinner. I highly recommend Opa and if you wish to
make a night out of it. And, if you are of age, of course, you may
want to head out back and check out their Drury Beer Garden.
After dinner we headed just a few blocks over to The
Wilma at Broad and Spruce. Showing was There: In the Light and
Darkness of the Self and of the Other by Etel Adnan, Co-Created
by Blanka Zizka, Rosa Barba and The Wilma HotHouse as a part

of the 2019 Fringe Festival. The show, which ran from Septem-
ber 11th to September 22nd, asks many existential questions like

“who are we,” and “why are we here,” and often leaves you with-
out an answer, simply just to ponder and reflect on your own life.

Walking into the theater having done no research, I wondered if
the actors would come out on bikes or skateboards as the stage
was shaped like a half-pipe. The lights went down, and as the

show began in darkness there were voices coming from no dis-
cernable direction. I’m not sure how long the darkness and voic-
es continued. We might have sat there for two minutes, or five,

or maybe ten. The play successfully suspended me in time and
from the start eliminated my instinct to “figure the play out,” it
demanded you to be actively in the moment being with the words
and movements of the play. If even for a moment your mind
drifted to think about the time or what the last line might have
to do with the next, you were left in a dark room thinking, when
with a play like this you should just be being. This play was filled
with many fantastic moments of the actors running back and forth
on the half-pipe shaped stage or standing completely still reciting
a speech, their shadows long. Singers sung from off stage, and
in many moments you were unsure who was actually speaking,

actors would portray the thoughts of another character. The stage-
hands and light operators didn’t hide, instead standing barefoot on

the stage alongside the actors.

This play was wonderfully different. If I said I under-
stood every moment I’d be lying, but I did fully enjoy every

moment. After the play there is a talkback to ask the HotHouse

artists any burning questions or even just to gain a bit of in-
sight from fellow play-goers. These Café Chats happen after

every performance and are a wonderful opportunity to better
understand the play. Next Up at the Wilma will be Dance
Nation by Clare Barron, directed by Margot Bordelon. It will
from October 22nd – November 10th. Over at the Wilma your
CCP student ID will get you into the show for just $15. Maybe
I’ll see you there!


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