Like many Broadway shows, South Pacific regularly conducts a backstage Sunday brunch. It's usually a low-key potluck affair, with actors and staff signing up in advance with their proposed offerings. The atmosphere around the ritual is friendly, with little of the secret whose-dish-was-all-gone-first competitiveness that I associate with the potlucks of my youth. With performers, such comparisons would be skewed: almost all actors have appetites (the actress Maria Tucci, a fabled cook, has said that when they are coming for dinner she typically doubles all the recipe ingredients), and will generally eat almost anything set before them, especially after a show when the adrenalin's still flowing.
This past Sunday's SP brunch was a little more festive than usual: it was cold outside, but Easter was in the air. Luka Kain and Laurissa Romain (Jerome and Ngana) hippity-hopped about sporting rabbit ears, and Laurissa, known as "Lala" to her friends, brought intricately decorated cupcakes for folks to feast upon. A few people brought chocolate eggs (with peanut butter and creme centers; excuse me, that's a little too rich: with peanut butter OR creme centers). There was pizza and quiche, and even the odd bit or two of fruit.
But the hardest working chef was cast member Liz McCartney. Even though McCartney has two young daughters at home to tend (the girls showed up at this brunch, looking darling in Easter dresses), she somehow found time to whip up an ambrosial dessert.
More significant, she made Scotch eggs. For those of you who've never nibbled on what the Brits call a pub lunch, here's what that populist delicacy consists of: a cold, hard-boiled egg removed from its shell, wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried.
Like revenge, Scotch eggs are a dish best served cold. There are, however, variations. I must confess that I once attended the Minnesota State Fair, where Scotch eggs were served hot and on a stick. (Please - please! -- don't ask.) In London, I have eaten Curried Scotch Eggs, which I suspect if he were not a vegetarian would please SP's ensemble member Peter Lockyer, who told me at Easter brunch of an East Village restaurant called Curry-Ya. I expected Curry-Ya to serve subcontinental fare, but Lockyer said no, it's Japanese, and then proceeded to tell SP cast member Maryann Hu he would take her to eat there, a promise I suspected was almost as regular a ritual as backstage Sunday brunch.
McCartney uses the traditional Scotch egg recipe. "Usually, I don't have as much trouble making them as I did this time," she said. "I sometimes run out of one of the side ingredients, but this time I ran out of eggs and had to dash out to get more. Can you imagine? On Easter, I ran out of eggs!" As brunchers tucked greedily into the dish, with its yolks and sausage and delicious deep-fried crust, McCartney added, "Around my house, we refer to these things as 'a little ball of heart attack.'"
BRENDAN LEMON is the American theater critic for the Financial Timesand the editor of lemonwade.com.