Hana Becker is a brilliant, driven professor of architecture. A native of the former Czechoslovakia, she was forced to leave her mother, Malka behind when she and her young daughter Andi fled to Argentina. Malka became one of the thousands of Jews confined in Prague and then deported to Terezin Concentration Camp, where she died.
The play opens with the mysterious arrival, in Manhattan in the 1970s, of a cookbook Malka managed to write while starving to death. Suddenly, Hana finds herself holding the evidence of a horrific past she has struggled to contain — and to the best of her ability — obliterate. She and her husband had vowed throughout their marriage to insulate their daughter Andi from the aftereffects of the war — yet from the moment the cookbook arrives, Andi demands to devour every word it contains — especially how to bake her grandmother’s signature secret cake recipe. Within weeks, the family’s carefully constructed life spirals into a nightmare of increasingly unmanageable proportions.
For Hana, this means a chorus of wartime characters, some real, some fantasized, seeping from the book’s pages at all hours, urging her to accept the book’s challenge and its abundant messages from her mother. Where will she find the strength, or the appetite, to accept what has been set before her?
Rich in dark humor and unsettling truths, Appetite is a full-length play in two acts, each of which opens with a musical number that informs the tone of what’s to come—something akin to the seemingly ordinary, yet profoundly mystical act of baking a cake…
Appetite is set simultaneously in 1970s Manhattan, 1930s Prague and the Terezin concentration camp. 11 characters total; 2 male, 9 female; stylized, atmospheric production.
Workshop/reading at PlayPenn New Play Development Conference, Phila. PA, (Dir. Ed Sobel, Dramaturg, Becky Wright) 2009
Readings in New York with Tovah Feldshuh, Kathryn Lange.
Industry reading at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in London, England January, 2013. Directed by Andrew Visnevski. Featured Miriam Margolyes, Tamsin Grieg, Jason Isaacs, Oona Chaplin, Emma Redgrave.