Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Vienna Theatre Company An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grande Boeuf

By • Jan 25th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grande Boeuf
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
$10/$9 Students and Seniors
Playing through February 7th
Reviewed Opening Night, January 23, 2009

An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grande Boeuf is a drama by Michael Hollinger. On this hot July night in 1961, the headwaiter Claude, waiter-in-training Antoine, waitress Mimi and chef Gaston are 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…

This was not one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time at the theater. This play plodded along. The last ten minutes of the show were the most interesting of the production, but by then, it wasn’t enough to rescue the evening.

Victor, played by Ken Perkowski, had one emotion the entire evening: depressed despondency. He rarely got overly emotional when he was delivering his lines. Victor simply wasn’t an interesting character. The restaurant staff also was fairly one-dimensional, with nothing beyond their continued employment at the restaurant to grab the audience’s interest. There wasn’t a feeling of intimacy among the characters.

The set for the play was practical. The two tables in the restaurant were the only playing area necessary. There were three entrances that allowed for everyone to be spread out on the stage. Sections of the stage weren’t used at all, creating a cramped feeling for the spacious stage. The Set Designer was John Vasko.

One positive note was that the play was performed with American accents. Trying to do it with French accents would have been unbearable and terribly hard to understand.

An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grande Boeuf ran an hour and a half with no intermission. It is playing through February 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and a Sunday matinee on February 1 at 2 PM at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, Virginia.

Once you’ve seen An Empty Plate in the Cafe Du Grande Boeuf, please share your thoughts about it. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater happenings in the DC region.

And now, on with the show.


  • Victor: Ken Perkowski
  • Miss Berger: Nancy Lyons
  • Mimi: Jessie Roberts
  • Claude: Lenny Marsh
  • Gaston: Tom Epps
  • Antoine: Brian Clarke


  • Director: Suzanne Maloney
  • Producer: Barbara Chaudet
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Assistant Stage Managers: Adrian Steel, John Shea
  • Sound Design: Jonathan Powers
  • Lighting Design: Miranda Welch Stockhausen
  • Costume Design: Patricia Tinder
  • Makeup and Hair Design: Amber Dyer
  • Set Design: John Vasko
  • Master Electrician: Michael O’Connor
  • Assisted by: Jon Roberts, John Shea, Tom Epps
  • Light Board Operator: Michael O’Connor
  • Sound Board Operator: Jonathan Powers
  • Master Carpenter: John Vasko
  • Assisted by: Ken Perkowski, John Shea
  • Paint Crew: Rose Declercq, Anna Hawkins, Ken Perkowski, Barbara Chaudet, Jessie Roberts, Suzanne Maloney
  • Program, Rich Dodenhoff
  • Web Master: David Segal
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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