Qaddafi’s Cook Comes to Town in May

Lynn Lohr and Alvaro Flores in a previous performance of “Qaddafi’s Cook”  |  photo by  Thomas H. Berger  |  post by Lance Belville and Larry Clinton

West Pier’s resident playwright Lance Belville has another play opening in the Bay Area May 23.

Fresh from a London run in the West End’s Latin American Theatre Season, Bons Tempos Theatre Company’s Fringe Festival hit, “Qaddafi’s Cook,” brings its immersive energy to Ft. Mason’s Southside Theatre, May 23-24, 2020, as part of the SFIAF’s (San Francisco International Arts Festival) 2020 program “In Diaspora: I.D. for the Majority”.

Two young Mexican chefs, one a follower of Mama Ayahuasca, and the other a disciple of Jack Daniels, get caught in the tailspin of Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, the world’s bloodiest foodie and suspected designer of the Lockerbie crash. Have they hit the culinary big time or blundered into high stakes espionage? Along the way, audiences literally taste the tyrant and smell the fear of his people.

Inspired by true events, an earlier version of this play was performed in 2016 at the New York International Fringe Festival, San Diego International Fringe Festival and the Hollywood Fringe Festival. An audience favorite, critics raved, “Intense and charming, an immersive experience that beautifully connects food, passion, and power,” and, “Do not miss this piece of powerful theatre.”

The play had its world premiere at the famous Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, where “Qaddafi’s Cook” writers first met and started working on the play. Carlos Ambrosi recounted his experiences as a diplomatic chef to seasoned playwright Lance Belville and together they decided to tell this story of “cooking for the devil.”

Sous chef Fredy, played by Guadalajara native and London-trained actor Alvaro Flores, recreates onstage the favorite dishes of the desert despot and adventuresome audience members get to “dine like a dictator” as they become complicit in the metaphors for tyranny cooked right in front of their eyes.

Director/actor Lynn Lohr joins Flores onstage to unravel the riddle of this kitchen quest. Composer Adrian Paredes writes the recipe for a soundscape that intertwines the melody of the Mideastern market and the Mexican street. In “Qaddafi’s Cook” audiences use all five senses to experience a geopolitical tale told in a whole new way.

Performances are in the Southside Theatre, Ft. Mason, San Francisco, Saturday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 24 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ticket prices: $12-$23. Early bird tickets are on sale March 1-31. Reservations can also be made through the Ft. Mason box office.