Flip the Script Friday: Fiona Peek, Salt

 

Happy Friday! I’ve been feeling a little salty lately – I don’t know exactly what that means, but it’s a good segue into this week’s Flip the Script Friday: Salt by Fiona Peek

Basics

Salt premiered in the Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, UK in 2010.

Characters

  • Simon – a lawyer, age 41
  • Nick – a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist, age 38
  • Amy – an art gallery curator, age 38
  • Rachel – an orchestral musician, age 40

Setting/Plot

Present day, a kitchen, usually Simon and Amy’s, sometimes Nick and Rachel’s. Simon and Amy are a successful couple with steady jobs, several children, and expensive tastes. Nick and Rachel are their friends – a little down on their luck and desperately trying to have kids. Nick’s writing career is floundering, so Amy, who’s been Nick’s friend for a long time, convinces her husband to lend the other couple some money. After a discussion of ethics, morals, and the future, Nick and Rachel reluctantly accept the money, and things change in a direction nobody expected. Friendships and alliances are made and broken over wine, cheese, shrimp, chili, and an array of other dishes over five scenes and several months.

My Thoughts

At first glimpse, oh, it’s another Friends/Seinfeld tale of the angst of young white urban professionals (although nowhere in the script does it indicate anyone’s race; in fact, in my mind, I pictured Nick as Italian and Amy as Hispanic.) but it’s really not. We really get to know each of the characters as individuals and in pairs, other than Simon/Rachel, who have a bit less of a life connection than any other pairing. It also really gives life to the concept of the kitchen as the main place for the development and carrying out of relationships; not the living room, dining room, or coffee shop; things like selecting dishes, setting the table, pouring drinks, and preparing food become stand-ins for broader concepts, like emotions and ideas. Plus, when you add glass and knives, who knows how much fun you could have.

How I’d Flip It

I imagine it a lot like God of Carnage, only warmer and less stiffly formal. Peek indicates that the table is “rhomboid, not square” and that there is a certain pattern/dance towards setting the table in each scene. You could really play around with that, for example, in terms of speed, duration, tempo, body movement, and even the types of dishes used. Though the title is kind of misleading – the concept of “salt” comes up maybe once – it’s a solid play that asks big questions about the little things in life.

 

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