An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf
THE STORY: No menu necessary at the world’s greatest restaurant, the Café du Grand Boeuf in Paris. Why? “Because we have everything,” headwaiter Claude admonishes waiter-in-training Antoine. On this hot July night in 1961, the two join waitress Mimi and chef Gaston in awaiting the imminent arrival of Victor, 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.
“…operatic looniness…” —NY Times. “…[a] treat on the Off-Broadway menu…” —NY Daily News. “…without ever sacrificing the prevailing zaniness of the situation, [Hollinger] flavors it all with enough sadness about dashed hopes and inertia to make this a menu filled with food for thought as well as laughter.” —CurtainUp. “…an absurdist tragicomedy…that manages to pay homage to Hemingway and Beckett in an…often hilarious existential romp.” —Boston Globe.