The art of awkward conversation: role-playing hosts Vicky & Lysander cordially invite you to the dinner party from hell. Unless, of course, your sense of humor borders on the absurd and you find social button-pushing hysterical (we do), in which case get yourself down to the Lower East Side sur le champ. Grand Opening — the revolving art space that previously housed D.I.Y. workshop Trade School — has been remade as a hipster-rustic dining room complete with questionable art and rough-hewn shelves hosting china and leather-bound books. Vicky, a Houston oil heiress played by Shannon Walker, and Lysander, a questionably-straight man about town (Damon Cardasis), are the fictional marrieds who conduct over-the-top conversation while twelve guests chow down on fried chicken and cupcakes. It’s BYOB, and trust me when I say the B considerably helps the proceedings.
Vicky preps for her guests.
Eating family-style dinner with a bunch of strangers has potential for discomfort, period, and the actors playing Vicky and Lysander tease out personal details from their guests with heavy-handed aplomb. Just remember, it’s all an act, originally a sketch comedy skit developed by Walker and Cardasis when they were students at NYU. Vicky is especially entertaining, playing off of Lysander’s swish anecdotes with a wannabe socialite Continental affect belied only by the occasional giggle when things get really silly. Oh, and the a capella Cabaret solo isn’t bad, either.
What’s cool about the experiment is its mutability: the actors mentioned after the performance that roughly 75% of the nightly dinners are improvised, based on what information is gleaned from the audience and whatever mood the performers feel like channeling. This could mean a dance routine, Pictionary, or whiskey shots for the table. Just remember to take Vicky & Lysander with a grain of salt and check the attitude at the door.
Convincing Lower East Side decor, no?
Regaling dinner guests with tales of shark fighting and bathhouses.
Tickets are $40 each and include dinner and dessert; the dinner parties are held twice a night every Wednesday through Sunday from May 5–23.