In many places and at many times, class and occupation were inequitably but conveniently synonymous: those who served were those of the serving class, and it was simply their lot in life to cater to the the whims of the served-upon class. Today, however, the banner of all-men-are-created-equal flies proudly over each Perkins, and those who serve the buttermilk cakes have no less dignity under the law of God or the law of Man than do those who messily consume said cakes. The indignant frustration of the undeservingly undertipped fuels the Flower Shop Project‘s In the Weeds, now playing at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater.
|in the weeds, presented through october 24 at the bryant-lake bowl, 810 w. lake st., minneapolis. for tickets ($12-$15) and information, see bryantlakebowl.com.|
The short play was written by Lacey Piotter as a dramatization of her experiences in the waitstaffing trenches. (The title refers to the situation of novice servers who find themselves overwhelmed with the job’s demands.) Four actors play archetypes of the server scene: the burned-out young woman who needs to get around to starting those grad school applications (Anissa Siobhan Brazill), the Player (Ernest Briggs), the fortysomething woman who’s been serving way too long (Sarah Broude), and the uptight, kiss-ass would-be manager (Ben Layne). Piotter herself appears as Brazill’s hungover BFF.
There’s a shadow of a plot involving Layne’s play for a promotion and a failed romance between Brazill and Briggs, but essentially the production is a series of sketches and monologues portraying the oft-amusing but even-more-oft-exasperating life of a server. Director Gretchen Weinrich keeps the pace brisk, and the action flows smoothly from one scene to the next. The actors work well as an ensemble, and by the end of the show you feel for each of them the combination of sympathy and impatience that they seem to feel for one another.
The material’s not particularly original (if you’ve seen the similarly-themed 2005 movie Waiting…, you’ll find no new revelations here), but it’s often quite funny—thanks both to Piotter’s ear for laugh lines and to the actors’ sharp comic timing. It’s a perfect BLB show: spunky, independent-spirited, and, despite its cynical surface, fundamentally warm-hearted. Plus, you get a souvenir pen custom-printed with the play’s name and the words this pen tips 20%.