A History of Art
In September 2006, xom launched Dinner Theater: A History of Art at On the Boards theater in Seattle, Washington. A speculative art history exploration of the world of culinary art as seen from the 26th century, the show takes the audience on a theatriculinary tour of the great periods of world art history (and future).
The show (a collaboration of over 50 theater and culinary artists) presented 18 tastings  created by over a dozen chefs from around the country.  
Exquisite... a hit... Dinner Theater constantly surprises with imaginative concoctions plucked from the fertile minds of Richter and company... Brainy but sensual, it’s just the thing to get reserved Seattleites out of their shells. (When’s the last time you touched two wine-and-rosemary-soaked fingers to the lips of the theater patron next to you?)”
—The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Fascinating... hilarious... With the deceptively simply named Dinner Theater, Matthew Richter has created something unique, perhaps even revolutionary... a brilliant sci-fi investigation of the cultural importance of food... the show really takes off.”
—The Seattle Weekly
The evening that unfolds is framed as The Commission’s Final Presentation to the Board of Directors of The Foundation. Our audience, the Board of Directors, sits in a ring 30 feet across, facing both each other and our Presenters. Our Presenters are delivering a report commissioned 73 years prior, to answer a question of utmost importance (but a question that remains a mystery until the end of the presentation).
The report is part art history lesson, part exotic culinary tasting exercise, and part cautionary tale
about the end of food and the end of art. The history of food, of flavor, as an art medium is traced
from the earliest human civilizations, through the renaissance, the impressionists, the
futurists, etc. Tasting after tasting arrives from the kitchen: An ancient and elaborate
Jomon handwashing ceremony; the hunting rituals of the nomadic Susa people;
the ecstatic religious rites of the Egyptian Cult of Osiris; the culinary-linguistics of
the Inca tribe of the Andes Mountains; romantic flavor-poems from seventeenth
century Florence; aesthetically violent recipes from Rome’s futurist movement of
the 1920’s... and many more.
The presentation concludes with the reintroduction of a lost species, an original
culinary hymn sung in seven-part harmony by the entire cast and crew, an
intimate dinner party for 40, the live performance (in the kitchen) of a
dinnerware marimba, and an interactive dessert of Cream Puff Secrets,
wherein audience members deliver secrets to one another via the Cream
Puff Secret InjectorTM. There’s even a take-home gift box of 26th
century desserts.
Delicious... thrilling... elegant... adorable... a parade of surprises... fresh and delicious... the audience erupts in applause. The idea is literally fantastic and, by the end, we are fully incorporated into its fantasy. Like all good science fiction, Dinner Theater takes a current problem and logically extends it into a future extreme: We are at a clashing junction between science and food and culture, unsure where one begins and the other ends.”
 —The Stranger
Written by Matthew Richter
With Additional Text By Jodi-Paul Wooster
Staging Directed by Shawn Belyea
Performed by (in order of appearance)
Sarah Rudinoff
Rob Witmer
Matthew Richter
Jodi-Paul Wooster
Erin Jorgensen
Video Design and Production
More Dust Than Digital Films
Jed Dunkerly and Kathryn Rathke
Costume Design and Production
Chelsea Blum
Closing Hymn Composed and Arranged
John Osebold
Dinnerware Marimba Created and Performed
Erin Jorgensen
Table Dressing
Iris Stephenson with José Amador
Control Console Design
Janet Galore
Lighting Design
Mark Meuter
Stage Manager
Jose Amador
Assistant Stage Manager
Jason Harber
Michael Doucett
Head Chef
Lisa Esposito
Sous Chef
Martha Hubbard
The Culinaries
Cerulleal Blue
Kathy Flick
Megan Garbin
Rob Grant
Kitty Grant
Hilari Price
With Culinary Contributions From
Thiery Rautereau
Matthew Richter
Jodi-Paul Wooster
Lisa Esposito
Christian French
Martha Hubbard
Toi Sennhauser
Dana Bickford
Elizabeth Jameson
Dinner Theater
Created by
Matthew Richter