I was excited when I heard that the Chehalem Players Repertory in Newberg was going to produce Empty Plate in the Cafe' du Grand Boeuf. As I looked at the Chehalem Players website, I noticed a long time Arts Alliance of Yamhill County member, a former AAYC Board member, one of the prime movers of the Art Harvest Studio Tour, and master painter Kathleen Buck was the stage manager for the production. I assumed being stage manager meant she designed the set. I wondered how the skills of a two dimensional painter applied to designing a setting for a play like Empty Plate.
It is a wonderful play by Michael Hollinger. Victor who is so rich he can afford to own the elegant Cafe and have it for his exclusive use. Of course the Cafe' staff has a pretty good set up with only one customer and his girlfriend to make happy. A dream job. But the dream becomes a nightmare. Victor has returned from a trip. I think it was trip to Pamponia, Spain and The Running of the Bulls. Victor is almost a fanatic fanboy of Ernest Hemingway. Victor shows up at the Cafe' without the girlfriend. He is morose.
I can hear Victor thinking the Farewell to Arms line “I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”
The Cafe' staff are in shock and awe when they ask Victor what they can prepare for him and he replies he will have nothing to eat, ever again. He is going to starve himself to death. Of course, the staff devise a plan to change Victor’s mind. Empty Plate is funny. It is serious. It is ironic. It has life lessons.
Kathleen told me being a stage manager has a lot broader job description that set designer. She said on Empty Plate she was more like an assistant set designer, the play’s Director Donna Gentry was actually doing most of the set designing. Kathleen laughed when I asked how her being a painter helped her with designing a set. Putting together a set with an almost non-existent budget was more like a scavenger hunt that required compromises based on what could be found. In Empty Plate the Cafe will be created in part by the items that Kathleen can beg or borrow from friends. I got the sense that building a set was more like a collage artist fitting and adjusting found objects within a suggestive framework.
Kathleen said working with the Chehalem Players Repertory was a wonderful creative experience. Watching the director and actors as they rehearse and seeing the creative development and changes as they work to create the action and words of the playwright is inspiring. For a painter like herself being involved with the creative process with folks from completely different creative mediums is a charge to the creative system.
We will look for more AAYC members who are working to cross pollinate their creative endeavor with other creative disciplines. It is part of what the idea of Arts Alliance in or name and mission stand for.
Plate in the Cafe' du Grand Boeuf opens on January 24, 2014.
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Labels: AAYC members, plays
Our programs seek to encourage creativity in all of the Arts.