Hunter Gatherers - Staircase Theatre

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October 30 to November 15, Havana Theatre

By: Tessa Perkins

First published in The Peak.

Any play that reminds me of Yasmina Reza’s Carnage is doing something right. Peter Sinn Nachtreib’s Hunter Gatherers begins similarly, with a calm household gathering that slowly descends into chaos. Pam and Richard invite Wendy and Tom over every year for an anniversary dinner to celebrate the day both couples got married. Their calm, upstanding dinner party gradually descends into an animalistic disaster as secrets and true personalities are revealed.

I first heard about the play when interviewing Pippa Mackie about another of her projects, and she said she had been thrilled to be part of a play with such a good script. I couldn’t agree more that this is an extremely well-written play. Almost every line is punchy and unexpected, and hilarity runs through the entire play as things become increasingly strange.

Pam (Mackie) comes home from buying ingredients for the dinner to find Richard holding a knife and kneeling over a cardboard box containing a lamb. It has to be fresh, he explains. This bloody act sets the tone for what is to follow, and as tensions rise between the four friends, the dining room becomes a war zone.   

Director Ryan Gladstone said before the show that, when describing the play to people, he would tell them “it goes there,” not wanting to give too much away, and I think that this is a good way to put it. This play is not afraid to take things to the extreme to get its point across. It’s bold, bloody, and brilliant.

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Photo by: Ivan Yastrebov.

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