TRTC inaugural season finishes clean with ‘Empty Plate’ |

TRTC inaugural season finishes clean with ‘Empty Plate’

Thunder River Theatre Company is going out with a clang.Of silverware, china, drink glasses …To close the inaugural season in its new theater, TRTC is serving up the absurdist tragi-comedy “An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf” by Michael Hollinger. In seven courses, the play celebrates the joys of cooking, sex, bullfighting and the collected works of Ernest Hemingway.

“An Empty Plate” is the daily special today through Sunday; June 23-25 and 30; and July 1 at TRTC’s theatre at 67 Promenade in downtown Carbondale. Curtain call is at 8 p.m. on all nights except Sundays, which is at 6:30 p.m.No menu is 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 a 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 Victor returns from the bullfights in Madrid, 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 a feast of adjectives and adverbs begins.Directed by TRTC’s associate artist Valerie Haugen, the play features company members Richard Lyon, Michael Miller, Patrick Murray, Haugen, and local guest Kristin Carlson. Artistic director Lon Winston plays Victor.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students. Sunday tickets are $22 and $12. Tickets, information and directions are available at or by calling 963-8200.Patron payback timeFor its final production of the season, Thunder River Theatre Company is offering a special ticket price for regular theater patrons who purchased tickets for the first two shows this season. Call 963-8200 for tickets.

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