Living in Sacramento, lovingly known as America’s Farm to Fork Capital, is such a privilege, especially when you love food. The art of cooking, trying out a new recipe, and getting to indulge in amazing food can be a transformative experience. Not only is it fun, but for some, it’s a therapeutic activity. Seeing these feelings and so much more portrayed in Clyde’s was a joy.
Clyde’s, written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Anthony D’Juan, is set at a truck stop sandwich shop. Everyone who works in the kitchen, including the owner, are formerly incarcerated people. While the unsympathetic, and some would even say cold-hearted, owner Clyde dismisses and criticizes her staff, that doesn’t stop them from finding redemption and purpose while trying to create the perfect sandwich.
The writing and characters in this show display great depth and complexity. Nottage takes something as universal and simple as food and makes it more. Throughout the play, the staff would gather around to discuss what kind of sandwich they would make, and then try one of Montrellous’ delectable sandwiches. Montrellous often imparts his own gentle wisdom, causing the staff to reflect on themselves, how they want to change, and what their lives could be. Nottage beautifully balances these light moments with the hard reality of the prison system. She tackles the fact that these people aren’t given a second chance by society. Even when they want to reclaim their lives, it is a constant uphill battle to do so.
The cast gave a stellar performance. As I watched them discuss their lives, their hardships, and their meals, I never wanted the stories to end. They had scenes with amazing moments of laughter, and by the end, it felt like the cast was family. While everyone gave their all when it came to their characters, I have to give a shout out to Angel Rodrigues, who I first saw in The Hombres. He brought so much sweetness and love to his character, Rafael, and it really shined through. He also had some hilarious moments, some of which made my husband belly laugh, and that is hard to accomplish.
Clyde’s is a beautiful story of looking beyond people’s mistakes and giving them a second chance. It looks at the complexity of humans and life in a way that will give you a new appreciation for those around you. You’ll leave the theater with not only some new food for thought but also hungry for that perfect sandwich.
Catch Clyde’s now through Sept. 24 at Capital Stage. Learn more here.