• Chronic Insanity

Digital Theatre = Cheesecake

(Contains strong language)

Strap in for a long, convoluted analogy!

No wait, where are you going? Keep reading, please, I swear it goes somewhere.

Alright, here we go…


Theatre is like cake.

Digital theatre is like cheesecake.

They have a lot of similarities, they have a lot of differences.

They are both called cake, but everyone agrees that cake is cake, whereas cheesecake might not be, not really, in spite of its name.

Anyway, in March of 2020 everyone’s oven broke.

A lot of people, who made cake professionally, or even just in their spare time, now wanted or needed to make something else and cheesecake, baring a similar name, was their first choice of alternative. They knew other people who had started making cheesecake and, whilst their oven was broken, their fridge was still working so why not try and make a cake using it?

However, a lot of these people, having only ever made cake, weren’t sure how to make cheesecake. They knew what cake was, 100%, they knew what cheese was. How hard could it be to combine the two and throw it in the fridge?

And then we saw loads of people do the equivalent of grating cheddar into cake batter and leaving it in the fridge. When people ate it and complained that their cake was bad, some cake makers decided that this meant that all cheesecake was bad. They’d never eaten good cheesecake, definitely not as good as “proper cake”, so all cheesecake must be a waste of time.

But they didn’t make cheesecake. They just made bad cake. Bad, cold, raw cake.

To sideline all cheesecake because of the bad cake you’ve made or eaten is ridiculous. It ignores that there have been people making cheesecake for ages, phenomenal cheesecakes, which have gone largely ignored by the cake eaters until they had no cake to eat and needed an alternative.

It ignores that some people make cheesecake because the cake makers won’t let them make cake. They won’t give them the recipe, they won’t give them the ingredients, and they won’t let them afford to eat cake to find out if it’s something they want to make or not. If they eventually save up to eat cake, they are made to feel unwelcome at the bakery and might not return in spite of desperately wanting to.

It ignores that some people make cakes because they want to make all sorts of sweet things - cakes, brownies, meringues, biscuits, and cheesecake - so when faced with a broken oven they made cheesecake because they didn’t care what they made so long as it tasted sweet to someone somewhere.

There’s nothing wrong with needing to adapt if you make a living from making cake and you find yourself without an oven. There’s nothing wrong with not being able to make great cheesecake if you’ve never made it before. There’s nothing wrong with learning through doing and making bad cheesecake to eventually make good cheesecake.

There is something wrong with renouncing cheesecake because you can’t make it, or because you hold yourself in such a high cake-making regard that you can’t possible conceive of an alternative way of making cake using a different kitchen appliance.

Or because you aren’t looking properly and your options are only filled with people like you trying to desperately make cheesecake while waiting for their oven to be fixed. I don’t think desperation is a good time to judge someone’s ability to make cheesecake.

Or because some people’s favourite, or potentially only, dessert option is only a stop gap for you. A fling. A band aid to cover a hole in your stomach that will eventually be filled by cake again, one day, hopefully…

But cheesecake isn’t going anywhere, and to pretend that we’ll all stop eating it as soon as cake is available again is silly. I’d go so far to say that, if your livelihood is making or selling cake, it’s professionally irresponsible.

In this example, cheesecake is so much more accessible for people, so much more convenient, so much more affordable to make and eat, with so many more flavours and shapes and sizes that there is absolutely something for everyone. Anyone can make it, and anyone can watch it. Yes, there are some people who don’t know how to use fridges, but there are very few people who can eat cake regularly but not cheesecake.

Also, I’m not suggesting we stop making cake anyway. Make all the cake you want. I love cake as much as I love cheesecake, and even if I didn’t we’ve always made cake, for thousands of years, so why would we stop now?

If you’re a cake maker and you’re worried that, by making desserts more convenient, people won’t want to eat your cake, then what does that tell you about how you think about your cake? What does that tell you about the reason you make it? Are you making cake for people to eat and enjoy or are you just making cake because you want to be a cake maker?

Oh, and if you don’t think that cheesecake is the same quality as “proper” cake, then you can just fuck off. It's an entirely different thing, with different benefits and weaknesses. Don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. If people can’t make “proper” cake, let alone professionally, without a huge amount of luck and privilege and resources then… *raspberry noise*

Anyway, what do I know? I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on this post. I’ve been too busy making cheesecake.

- - -

P.S Yes, some cheesecakes need an oven - shut up, I’m not talking about those! :P

P.P.S There’s a Marie Antoinette joke in here somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it. Answers on a postcard!

48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Chronic Insanity is producing a new immersive production of Medea by Megan Gates, to be staged at the Surface Gallery in Nottingham between 12th-19th November, with rehearsals starting the week commen