Broadway's Patrick Ryan Sullivan and Matthew McGee Join freeFall's AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFE DU GRAND BOEUF
No menu necessary at the world's greatest restaurant, the Café du Grand Boeuf in Paris. Why? "Because we have everything," headwaiter Claude (Matthew McGee) admonishes waiter-in-training Antoine (Greyson Lewis).
On this hot July night in 1961, the two join waitress Mimi (Natalie Symons) and chef Gaston (John Lombardi) in awaiting the imminent arrival of Victor (Patrick Ryan Sullivan), the Café's owner and sole patron. But when "Monsieur" returns from the bullfights in Madrid, disheveled and morose, his wish is simple: to die of starvation at his own table. The frantic staff, whose very lives depend on Victor's appetite, try all means to change his mind, but to no avail. Finally, they make a last-ditch plea: Out of respect for their life's work, will he let them prepare one final meal-provided they leave it in the kitchen? Instead they will describe it, course by course, over a series of empty platters. Victor reluctantly consents, and the "feast of adjectives and adverbs" begins...A "comic tragedy in seven courses" celebrating the joys of cooking, sex, bullfighting and the collected works of Ernest Hemingway. An Empty Plate also stars Bay Area favorite Roxanne Fay as Miss Berger.
An Empty Plate features Patrick Ryan Sullivan as Victor. Mr. Sullivan has performed on Broadway as Gaston in Disney's Beauty and The Beast, Julian Marsh in 42nd Street as well as Stoker Barrett in Maury Yeston's Titanic. This is Mr. Sullivan's first appearance with freeFall.
Tampa Bay audiences will recognize John Lombardi and Roxanne Fay for their excellent turns as Herr Schultz and Fraulein Schneider in freeFall's record-breaking production of Cabaret, which ran for 10 weeks this past summer. Ms. Fay recently appeared in Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking with The Dali and The Studio @620. Natalie Symons and Greyson Lewis come to freeFall fresh off their appearances in the hugely popular production of The Foreigner at American Stage. This is also Greyson's first appearance with freeFall. Natalie Symons played the title role in Becky Shaw with freeFall and is a noted playwright. Her play, Lark Eden is being produced throughout the country. Comic actor Matthew McGee rounds out the cast after having played the diabolical Dr. Frank 'n' Furter in American Stage In the Park's The Rocky Horror Show. McGee was last seen at freeFall as Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Pluto/Shaw in Sondheim's The Frogs.
An Empty Plate is directed by freeFall Artistic Director Eric Davis. Recently, Mr. Davis remarked on the charm and significance of Michael Hollinger's play. "An Empty Plate is the sort of play that is deceptively simple. Upon first reading it, it seems to be a light and frivolous evening of absurd fun, with a lot of heart. But as you get deeper into the play, it is really about a whole lot more than that. It works on so many levels that it can be enjoyed by such a wide range of audience members. Our production of Cabaret was like this. Some audience members enjoyed it as the iconic song and dance extravaganza that it is, while others appreciated it on a much deeper level, as a play about one of the most significant chapters in our history and the ways in which politics effect the lives of ordinary individuals. I'd say that An Empty Plate is ultimately about the nature of expectation and disappointment in our lives, and the things that make life worth living: great art, great literature, great food, great love, and great wine. All of these existential questions are pondered against the backdrop of a play that is a rollicking, almost farce-like romp."