Dinner, coffee and desert! An experimental student-authored mashup of  sketches on restaurants, cafés and pastry shops. A fall 2019 workshop with six undergraduate students of French produced an hour-long variety show: an opening one-act (Les risques du métier / Occupational Hazards) about a put-open waiter simultaneously serving three difficult sets of diners; followed by six brief meditations on the importance of coffee (Pause-Café / Coffee Break); capped off by another half-dozen vignettes on the fate of one raspberry tart (C'est pas de la tarte ! / It's Not Easy!). The original script was then adapted by fifteen undergraduate actors for live performance, only to be thrown off course by the coronavirus pandemic a month before opening night. Ever resilient, Les Comédiens carolingiens 2020 filmed themselves in their respective states of social distancing, and their "selfies" were subsequently combined into a virtual and virtuoso collective performance. Designed to be staged individually or as an ensemble.

Amuse-gueules ! / Appetizers!
Acte Ier
Les risques du méter / Occupational Hazards
Script
(PDF)

Genre:

# of characters:  

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comic one-act

11 (6 w / 5 m)*

Approx. 15 minutes

Minimal: 3 tables, 8 chairs, various glasses and plates.

As minimally or elaborately stereotypical of a "snooty" French restaurant as desired.

 

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

Noémie thinks Noëlle has invited her out to dinner to propose. Papa and Maman have come to celebrate their wedding anniversary, with her frisky mother and their bored daughter Juliette in tow. Liam and Léa are on a blind date, set up by Léa's best friend Josiane. Nothing works out quite as planned: Noëlle breaks up with Noémie; both Mamie, who has a yen for the waiter, and family dog Médor disrupt the festivities; and Liam turns out to be a first-class jerk. It is the waiter, however, who seems to get the worst of it in the end.

Acte II
Pause-Café / Coffee Break

Genre:

# of characters:  

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comic sketch

2 (non-gender specific)

Approx. 2 1/2 minutes

A coffee bar, however minimally suggested

Contemporary, apron for the barista

Synopsis

A barista has to deal with a particularly finicky customer.

I

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comic sketch

4 (3 w / 1 m)*

Approx. 4 1/2 minutes

A beatnik club - chairs, tables, mic, coffee cup and utensils

Retro, suggestive of 1960s

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

Hommage to poet Jacques Prévert. Two acts at a beatnik club: a food poet and an interpretation of Prévert's iconic "Déjeuner du matin."

II

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comic sketch

2 (1 w / 1 m)*

Approx. 2 minutes

A home kitchen - chair, table, carboard cup

Contemporary - bathrobe, pyjamas

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* gender of roles easily adaptable.

III

Synopsis

A coffee addict awakens to find there's only decaf left in the house. Her thoughtful spouse returns from Starbucks, but it doesn't end well.

Genre:

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comic sketch

4 (2 w / 2 m)*

Approx. 4 1/2  minutes

A home kitchen - chair, table, coffee machine, cups, etc.

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

A family's coffee likes and dislikes.

IV

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comic sketch

3 (2 w / 1 m)*

Approx. 2 minutes

A home kitchen - chair, table, coffee machine, cups, cereal bowls, etc.

Contemporary - pyjamas, bathrobes.

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

V

Synopsis

Mom's still asleep so two children try out the espresso maker.

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comic sketch

2 (2 w)*

Approx. 4 minutes

A home kitchen - counter, coffee maker, champagne flute, coffee creamer, etc., iPad or camcorder

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

Noëlle is trying to build her YouTube brand, making iced coffee, even though she hates coffee. With her grandmother running the camera.

VI
Script
(PDF)
Acte III
C'est pas de la tarte ! / It's Not Easy!
I

Genre:

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comic sketch

3 (1 w / 2m)*

Approx. 2 1/2 minutes

A pastry shop, then home kitchen; knife for cutting tart

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable. Dog Médor was originally to be played by a 4th actor.

Synopsis

Mom buys a raspberry tart to celebrate Dad's birthday. When she discovers missing piece, she accuses son Luc, but the guilty party was Médor.

II

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comic sketch

3 (1 w / 2m)

Approx. 2 1/2 minutes

A living room; cell phone

Contemporary

Synopsis

Natalie's new boyfriend, for whom she has made a raspberry tart, is not quite what she was hoping for, as her younger brother Sébastien is only too aware. Fortunately, the boyfriend's phone ends up doing him in.

III

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comic sketch

4 (2 w / 2m)*

Approx. 4 1/2 minutes

A living room; chair, cell phone(s)

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

A mother asks her children to do their homework and clean the kitchen but not touch the raspberry tart she left for their father. The son, however, didn't get the message.

IV

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comic sketch

3 (3 w)*

Approx. 4 minutes

A Parisian pastry shop; a pie in the face

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

Two Americans in Paris looking for good apple pie. It doesn't end well.

V

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comic sketch

3 (2 w / 1 m)*

Approx. 2 1/2 minutes

A kitchen; plate, fork

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

A mother wrongly accuses her daughter of having eaten the piece of raspberry tart she was saving for her husband.

VI
Script
(PDF)

Genre:

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comic sketch

2 (1 w / 1 m)*

Approx. 3 minutes

A kitchen; a raspberry tarte

Contemporary

* gender of roles easily adaptable.

Synopsis

A wife wrongly accuses her husband of having eaten the raspberry tart her mother gave her.

Musical Notes

  • Amuse-gueules   : Stéphane Wrembel - Bistro Fada (Midnight in Paris)

    • « Les risques du métier » : Jean-Christophe Delbende & Vincent Heuzé, « Un drôle de restaurant »

    • « Pause-Café » : The Manhattan Transfer « Java Jive »

    • « C'est pas de la tarte » : Orphéon Celesta « Cest pas dla tarte »

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