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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Humor on an ‘Empty Plate’

    Ever thought what it would be like to own the best restaurant in the world? Did you ever think you would use it as a place to starve yourself to death? Well, that is exactly what you can expect to see in “”An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf,”” which opens tonight at the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.

    Though the plot may sound morbid, it’s actually quite the comedy. Written by Michael Hollinger, the show is about a millionaire returning from Madrid, heartbroken and willing to starve to death in his own private restaurant. In hopes of cheering the boss up, the staff of the renowned café describe various culinary creations to convince him to eat. Between each course, the characters’ stories and relationships are explored with much humor and a hint of darker tones.

    The show runs until May 16 and is directed by Samantha K. Wyer, who also directed a hilarious rendition of “”The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”” to the Arizona Repertory Theatre last November. “”An Empty Plate”” looks to be another success for Wyer, who, despite the fact that it is her first time directing at the Invisible Theatre, is no stranger to many in the cast.

    “”I had worked with half of them before, and a couple of them were new to me, but they’re a bunch of creative, zany, ‘let’s do this, let’s work as hard to share the story as possible,’ (people),”” Wyer said.

    Roberto Guajardo has worked with Wyer before and is a familiar face at the Invisible Theatre, having acted in more than a dozen productions there. The veteran actor plays Victor, the distraught millionaire and owner of the Café du Grand Boeuf. Guajardo had never read the script before auditioning but offered some insight to the heart of its writing.

    “”It’s really, in a lot of ways, a language play. It’s highly descriptive. The character Claude, at one point, describes the evening when he is trying to convince Victor to stay there as they serve him empty plates, describes it as a feast of adjectives and adverbs. I think the author was talking about his own play,”” Guajardo said.

    Claude is played by Sean Dupont, a UA alumnus and decorated actor, director, dramaturg and artistic assistant.

    A real surprise in the cast is theatre production junior Brad Kula. The Invisible Theatre does not see many actors from the UA who are currently students.

    “”Most (students) stay within the university theatrical community, which is strange because there’s a lot to be offered from the outside community,”” Kula said.

    The transition from the UA to the Invisible Theatre didn’t seem to be too much trouble for Kula, who described the atmosphere as relaxed, thanks to how closely the actors work with the director and the fact that it is a small cast.

    “”It’s always nice to act with people you like, and everybody in this show are excellent wonderful people, so it’s great to act with them,”” Kula said.

    Kula plays Antoine, a new member of the restaurant who is smart and earnest but doesn’t quite fit in yet. Oddly enough, this is not the type of character Kula is used to portraying. With a powerful personality, he often plays strong and boisterous characters.

    “”I’ve never played anything like this before, but (Wyer) is an excellent director and she can really get a lot out of people,”” Kula said.

    In the world of theater, the combination of a close-knit, talented cast and an experienced director is a recipe for success. Don’t starve yourself of a fun night — see “”An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf.””

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