by Ed Malin · February 27, 2014
The odyssey starts with a chance encounter, in Taos, New Mexico, “land of heterosexuals 50 and over.”
The younger than 30 Dan Bernitt has ventured there for a writer's retreat, and serendipitously meets a notorious 1990s infomercial celebrity. This woman has seen the light--meaning the danger of mass-produced food--and now purveys healthier options. Dan, an avid communicator with his mother, shares the sea-change this powwow has begun within him.
Back in New York to complete grad school, Dan's outlook radically changes, as summed up in the line "what do you mean, vegans don't have a sense of humor?"
It's only healthy food now, and a return to man-hunting in the East Village. But what should be sweet times turn sour as a bout with illness makes fresher food essential. Almost all food choices are scary. What can we eat that won't bring the earth (and its soon-to-be 14 billion inhabitants) to its knees?
The horror, the hunger, the contemplation ad nauseam when no food is good enough. It's a lonely hajj to undertake. One could easily explode during a trip to Whole Foods.
Dan Bernitt's accomplishments as a writer and a performer are simply amazing. Of course there is humor in all of this quest for nutrition. Like Oedipus, a sage he pretends to disdain, Dan's character seems to be the only one who can see the dangers in every supermarket. I, the reviewer, who thought I was a good vegetarian, am laughing at myself now. Once we tune in to the true impact of our food choices, we have to work that much harder to sustain local farms and eat the right things. I'm very glad this play has come to New York. You should see it before dinner, or come with a directory of healthy places to eat afterwards.