THE EDIBLE COMPLEX
The Edible Complex is a comedy about ten-year-old Anna, who dreams of being a chef. She is also becoming aware of how her body is different from others at school. One day she decides to stop eating, but it’s hard to ignore your food when it starts talking to you!
Commissioned by Plan-B Theatre as part their annual Free Elementary School Tour and first performed in 2016, The Edible Complex was seen by roughly 8,000 4th-6th graders across 7 Utah counties and 40+ schools. All photos here are from the Plan-B production, directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff and designed by Aaron Swenson, featuring Anne Louise Brings as Anna and Dee-Dee Darby Duffin as Anna's Mom and All the Food. Photos by Rick Pollock.
"The Edible Complex, the fourth annual installment in Plan-B Theatre’s Free Elementary School Tour (FEST), excels at every challenge of making good children’s theater.... Grounded in credible, respected research and written without a tone of preaching, the story speaks clearly to kids but also to parents and teachers as well, reminding them that children should never be underestimated for how they listen and respond to the communication cues, whether they be at home, school or in the media." — Les Roka, The Utah Review
"So, my mom told me that we were going to go see show called The Edible Complex. She told me what the show was about and I was really excited. We were recently talking about food and the food groups. I was comparing myself to some other kids in school. Was I skinny enough? Was I healthy enough? Seeing The Edible Complex made me feel a lot better about myself.... I think people should see the show because it’s educational. It has a great message: No matter if you’re thin or small, or short or tall, just be happy and eat healthy." — 9-year-old Presley Josephine Caywood's review of the show
"Cheeseburgers and brownies speak to ten-year old Anna in this sweet play that hits a lot of food-truisms without hammering a message. Anna is on track to be a chef until she discovers her Mom's magazines and photos of skinny, unsmiling women who are the 'beauty norms of the day.' Anna's relationship with food becomes complicated. This play is a charmer and addresses food and how we deal with it in a way that is accessible and humorous for young audiences. A perfect play for touring and discussions." — Playwright Claudia Haas on the New Play Exchange
“Jackson upper grade kids got to see the production of The Edible Complex. They loved it – it was engaging and so developmentally appropriate!” — Michelle Grutter, Vice Principal, Jackson Elementary
“This was a wonderful, tight performance that accomplished the beautiful balance of entertainment and sending a subtle, but important message about body image. Our students loved it! The younger students for the entertainment; the older students for both!” — Amy Wadsworth, Principal, Salt Lake Arts Academy
“I had the privilege to sit and experience this performance with the students and teachers this morning. It was a fabulous show with such an incredibly important message. I was happy to witness an audience that was fully engaged during the entire performance. Thank you for bringing this show to our school.” — Deborah Candler, Principal, Wasatch Elementary
“I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed THE EDIBLE COMPLEX that was performed at my school today. The actors were great. The costumes were wonderful. The story was perfect. The students really paid attention, their comments at the end were very thoughtful and on target. Thanks so much for putting together such a great experience for our students.” — Denice Maedgen, Teacher, Crestview Elementary