The stage is set: a glass box on stage, a table dressed for the perfect dinner party. Expensive glasswear, gilded dishes, panelled walls of green and beige.
Sydney Theatre Company's Dinner flips the expectations of an ordinary social engagement. Together, director Imara Savage and set designer Elizabeth Gadsby create the kind of dining room that welcomes you in and then pulls the seat from right under you.
Why is this play called Dinner and why is it set at a dinner party?
IMARA SAVAGE: Dinner is a social ritual that we can all relate to and it comes with established expectations. You expect that the food will be good. You expect that the people gathered will like each other. And you expect that people will behave with a certain level of decorum. There are rules.
Is that where the comedy comes from – the subversion of those rules?
IS: Yes, in Dinner particularly. This isn’t a middle-class set of characters. They’re upper-class, so there are even more rules. Think of somebody like Lady Diana holding a dinner party – the expectations of what can be said and what can’t be said. And what happens when people do just blurt stuff out.