Many years ago, an actor who worked a lot at Pegasus Theatre was quoted in the newspaper as saying, “I like working at Pegasus—they feed their actors!” (Walter Hardts, RIP)
It’s true. We’re a bit food-focused! There’s actually a fine tradition of feeding actors in the theatre. It’s said that a certain Broadway writer/composer team used to purposely write food scenes so their actor friends could get at least one decent meal that day.
At Pegasus Theatre, we limit our actor-feeding to off-stage. I’d wager we’re the only theatre in the metroplex that has a paid position for someone to keep the Craft Services table stocked. This is a table set up, usually in the Green Room (the actors’ waiting room in between scenes), with snacks and beverages. It’s more common on a film or video shoot, as those can be all day affairs. We are unique in that we provide it for our live stage plays!
It all started innocently enough. Mrs. K (Kurt’s mother) would bake cookies and bring them in. I found a restaurant that made tiny pies and I would buy an assortment for “Pie Night”. Or an actor well-known for his or her baking skills would get cast and would ply his or her fellow cast members with home-baked goodies.
We noticed right away that some actors were routinely skipping dinner to make it to rehearsals on time. It was clear from how ravenously they attacked the available food. So we added a few healthier options (peanut butter and jelly, bread, fresh fruit, etc) to the mix and we paid someone to keep the table stocked during rehearsals and performances. There may be a stereotype of “the starving artist”, but we knew from experience that cast members performed better AND got along better on a full stomach.
Performing at the Eisemann Center has added a new twist to our culinary adventures. When we have a matinee performance and an evening performance on the same day (Saturdays), we must either allow enough time for actors and crew to run and get dinner between the shows OR we must feed them.
Now imagine being in full Living Black & White™ makeup and running out to a sandwich shop for dinner. You’ll attract all kinds of attention at a time when you’re in a hurry and can’t stop to schmooze. So we have opted for feeding the cast and crew between shows. The Eisemann Center generously provides us space for tables and chairs, and we reciprocate by feeding their crew members too.
What’s on the menu? Well, there’s usually a Tex-Mex night, Italian night, Middle Eastern night, and then our very favorite: Pot Luck night! The latter is just what it sounds like: Each actor and crew member contributes something to the meal. Most people take the opportunity to showcase their cooking skills, while others will buy something to add to the mix. The food is always amazing!
If you love Pegasus and have been trying to think of ways to contribute, keep us in mind the next time you bake. We’d be happy to add your creations to our Craft Services table, where grateful actors and crew will devour them in record time!