Interview: Melinda Lopez And Joel Perez write and perform STIR at The Old Globe

"A hilarious and moving story about family, food, and love. It's equal parts sugar and spice."

By: May. 15, 2024
Interview: Melinda Lopez And Joel Perez write and perform STIR at The Old Globe
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Interview: Melinda Lopez And Joel Perez write and perform STIR at The Old Globe During the pandemic many people delved into cooking and creating, looking for a creative outlet, or a chance to reconnect with meals and memories through family favorites. Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez took it a step further and cooked up a combination of those things with their play “Stir” about siblings reconnecting. Both give some insight into what audiences can expect from this new one-act which is making its world premiere at The Old Globe through May 26th.

Set in April 2021 (mid-pandemic) they play siblings who have been separated by their different paths in life and have reconnected to share recipes and memories. Lopez plays Mariana, the older sister and the keeper of their mother’s secret recipe, and describes the show as  “a hilarious and moving story about family, food, and love. It's equal parts sugar and spice.”

Perez, who plays the younger brother and Lopez worked collaboratively and virtually during the pandemic which helped shape the format of this play.

This piece began as a pandemic project that was responding in real-time to the lockdown experience. It felt like an exciting challenge to figure out how to theatricalize that virtual experience and create space for audiences to laugh and reflect on that collectively difficult time.”

Lopez says that audiences can expect a good time and hopefully, one that inspires them to do some cooking and connecting of their own.

“A lot of laughs. Some magic. A Latino family, a blended family, great smells, and some tears of joy… and did I mention laughs? I hope that people come to the show, and then cook up a special meal, or connect with family/friends.”

Since food became such a focus point for some people during that time, the play celebrates that and the art of performing and cooking, both of which are done in front of a live theatre audience during each performance. Melinda says that combination seemed like a fun challenge to explore on stage.

“We cook onstage — which is fun! And also… well, let’s just say the knives are sharp!! But the act of cooking and sharing food is an ancient ritual that has a visceral appeal — a lot like theatre — gathering in a community to share an experience of LOVE. The play is sort of the collective antidote to living apart and sequestered from people we loved in the past.”

Interview: Melinda Lopez And Joel Perez write and perform STIR at The Old Globe

Joel says the art of cooking adds another level to the audience experience of the show.

“Audiences can expect a 4D theatrical experience since the smells of cooking are present with a working stove on stage! They will also laugh and reflect on some of the collateral damage of the COVID era and hopefully take the time to reconnect with friends and family.”

Food and family gatherings build indelible memories, and there is always a certain food that immediately reminds people of those gatherings.  So of course we had to find out what favorite food reminds these playwrights and performers of their families.  Both 

For Joel, he says “Arroz con pollo y habichuelas rojas! My mom always makes it for me when I go back home to visit.”

 Melinda says that the recipe in the play (and it can be found in the program for audiences to make when they go home) is a favorite.  “The black beans recipe we cook is actually my mother's! She also made a devastating flan, which I have never managed to duplicate.  I also love my husband's steak tips!

Consider “Stir” like a family gathering, full of laughter, feelings, and food, but always a good time.

 Lopez says “There isn’t anything better than gathering with friends, and sharing some laughs about our collective experience over the past few years. Not politics, just the stresses, and joys that come from being in a community with the people you almost always love."

How To Get Tickets

“Stir” is playing at The Old Globe through May 26th. For ticket and showtime information go to www.theoldglobe.org  

Photo Credit: Photo by Rich Soublet II.  Co-playwright Melinda Lopez. Photo by Adam DeTour.









 




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