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October 30, 2017
Review: Cafe Play


1 Direction by Erin Mee

1 Choreography by Jonathan Matthews

1 Historic location (Cornelia Street Café)

1 Open mind

2 Glasses of wine (red or white)

7 Fearless actors

18 Scenes by Erin Mee, Jessie Bear, Colin Waitt, Jenny Lyn Bader

Several crayons

Hershey’s Kisses to taste


1. Enter Cornelia Street Café and wait to be seated. You’ll be shown into the back room of the venue where you’ll be assigned a seat next to a complete stranger (in case you attend alone), otherwise you’ll sit next to your date (unless you both decide to take a break from each other). If you’re sitting next to a stranger, try to figure out if they’re part of the show, ignore their suspicious looks, they probably think you’re part of the show too.

2. Be ready to acknowledge your desire to eavesdrop on what happens in the tables around you, since most of the scenes take place away from your direct eyesight. Gently turn around to see Jonathan Matthews and Amanda Thickpenny steal each scene they’re in.

3. Feel free to unleash your inner child and/or artist, as you’re offered crayons to color the paper table covers. If you’re familiar with the work of This Is Not A Theatre Company, you should know that your own reactions are essential to how you perceive the play. Remember this is not a traditional, stay put kind of experience, so be ready to unleash your creative sense of self.

4. Sip on your wine. A refill will come soon.

5. Think back on the times when you have been the obnoxious patron asking their servers to perform insane actions, or abusing them simply because you think “the customer is always right.” That tingly sensation in your chest might be empathy.

6. Take in the wondrous art hanging from the walls of the back room.

7. Laugh out loud as you listen the first hand account of a cockroach trying to make a living in the indifferent New York City. You might not want to adopt a cockroach afterwards, but you will most likely smile next time you see one (right before you run away screaming).

8. Absorb the cautionary tale sensation of some scenes to go out into the world and be a better person.

9. Say yes to the wine refill.

10. Notice Erin Mee’s gentle, but assured, direction. Each scene in the play feels like an oxymoron: an elaborate gourmet dish prepared on a whim.

11. Smile upon remembering moments from your own life as you listen to a conversation between two cups. No, it’s not the wine playing tricks on you. The cups are really moving (as in emotionally, not physically).

12. Eat chocolate in the most unexpected manner you’ve ever had it. Take one for the road, you’ll want to try and repeat this on the subway ride home.

13. Applaud the performers for showing you restaurants are more than just places to sit down and eat.

14. Acknowledge your table partners before leaving, pat yourself on the back if you were right about them being in the show. Chances are you were enjoying yourself so much you forgot to keep track of it after a while.

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Written by: Jose Solis
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