How to Make a Methodist Salad began as an 8-minute solo I performed in 2008 as part of my MFA concert. It is my autobiographical account of growing up in the Midwest, and demonstrates the innocence, youthful exuberance, and safety we all experience as children. As the piece evolves, it also shows the eventual loss of those elements through the process of growing up. At the end of the day, we all have to decide what we take with us, what we leave behind, what makes us who we are, and what defines our philosophy.
Using the solo as a springboard, I created an evening-length piece that covers many phases of life, all relating to one singular recipe. At birthdays, picnics, weddings, baby showers, and funerals, this dish of white marshmallow, coconut, whipped cream and mandarin oranges, is present. My mother always referred to it as a “Methodist salad,” because it is such a staple in that church’s culture. In nearly every family memory I have, that food is a constant. Using text, dance, live singing, set design, and building an actual Methodist Salad onstage, I premiered the full-length, six-person work in Arlington VA in May 2017.