It was the kind of challenging evening we've come to expect from Upstream Theater. Cooking with Elisa is a 1993 allegorical drama from Argentina about that nation's abuses of political power. But, hey, if political allegory is not your thing, Elisa was also an overwhelming visual experience, thanks to the detailed scenic design by Scott C. Neale. His spin on a well-stocked kitchen on a private estate was so persuasively pungent that you walked out of the theater ready to sign up for a cooking class. Over the past few years, Neale has become invisibly ubiquitous on the local theater scene. His sets seem to be everywhere, and they generally range from remarkable to astonishing. We know stage sets aren't supposed to compete with actors, but despite his title, Neale doesn't really design sets. He creates universes for characters to inhabit. And none was more intriguing than the menacing world of Cooking with Elisa.
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