Archive :: production:T01235578142, one person show:S01724980219, venue:V1984858935
The full English breakfast is given a Citizenship Test as Mem Morrison returns to his roots to explore the cultural connotations of the traditional greasy spoon café. LEFTOVERS is a development of Mem's earlier performance FUEL which was created for Home , London, December 2004. For FUEL, Mem invited members of his extended family to help him create a one-off performance in a domestic kitchen involving traditional Turkish Cypriot cooking and hospitality. FUEL was an intimate encounter with Mem and his family. LEFTOVERS will further this investigation, taking Mem's culinary and cultural concerns to a wider context and looking at the implications within contemporary British society. The English café or greasy spoon played a significant role in my childhood. My parents ran a café in Forest Hill, South London. Dad was responsible for orders, making tea and serving, mum would cook in the kitchen at the back. Our family of six lived in the two-bedroom maisonette above the café. As you can imagine, we were cramped upstairs so I made the café my playground, except during lunchtimes when downstairs was out of bounds. The business and home merged into one . Mum would cook our meals both in the kitchen upstairs and the kitchen downstairs. Full English spliced effortlessly into traditional Turkish Cypriot and the café was an extension of our home. For me, as a child, food came to represent the focal point of conflict and segregation. My Muslim background met with daily challenges: Lunchtimes, Monday to Friday, a feast of Shepherds Pie, Fish and Chips, Spam Fritters, Apple Crumble and Custard; but at home this food was to be smelt and not eaten. Eating English food at school meant I could fit in . As a child I didn't have the skills to embrace my cultural heritage because I was putting my energies into fighting against it. I wanted to be accepted by those around me but wasn't willing to accept myself. Sunderland Cafe was home until the age of eight when my parents sold up and bought a Doner Kebab shop. It was a fond farewell to the full English breakfast and a full embrace of our Turkish Cypriot heritage. For LEFTOVERS, Mem heads out onto the High Street to un-cover an English café culture that has been assimilated and imperceptibly changed by generations of Turkish Cypriot families. LEFTOVERS will explore culture and cultural difference and how this is expressed through food. It is a gentle exploration of how cultures meet and mingle, eat, socialise and influence each other. Mem Morrison is a performance artist who has been making his own, highly personal, work since 1995. He is interested in exploring performance as a healing process and as a way of finding a voice. With a strong emphasis on design and colour, the work often draws upon personal history and environment to evoke the complexities of acknowledging and accepting cultural difference. LEFTOVERS is commissioned by Chelsea Theatre and Nottingham NOW! Festival.