Held-Over San Francisco Show is Worth the “Waiting”
Young playwright Tonya Foster has served countless meals as a Bay Area waitress, recounting various foibles and fetishes in her self-published book “Waiting on Humanity”. Based on this revelatory memoir, Foster brings an amusing tableau of scenes to life in an easy-going theatrical production. The performances take place in a private room off the lobby of the Larkspur Hotel near Union Square, with the audience welcome to bring their bar lobby drinks in to the show.
Directed by Shari Carlson, this shoestring-budget show has lots of laughs. Set against a gorgeous backdrop painted by Veerakeat, Foster narrates the humorous scenes as her days in an Italian restaurant unfold. Foster is joined by a cadre of up-and-coming actors portraying restaurant staff as they expose the frequently frustrating “back story” of dining out.
Suzette Stiles Slaughter does a competent depiction of an oft-inebriated cafe manager, and Rebecca Pantazes is wonderfully pretentious and patronizing as the high-heeled corporate “hatchet man.” They tussle over how to run the restaurant while their employees vacillate between total confusion or subversive yet clever chicanery. Cast members include Liz Kennedy, Christopher Borgzinner, Carla Kechichian, and Dorothy Aiko Endow.
“Waiting” is sometimes wicked, poking fun at the annoying habits of diners and the ever-present misguided corporate policies. At other moments it is revelatory, illuminating caffeine wars, the home office’s “secret shopper” (complete with 45-item checklist) or the push for staff to “up-sell” customers on costlier booze. There are many familiar prototypes plus a few surprises, giving this show fun, freshness and vitality despite the limited staging.
“Waiting” is playing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday matinee at 2 PM at the Larkspur Hotel, 524 Sutter, between Powell and Mason, San Francisco. Info at www.waitingsf.com with tickets through Brown Paper Tickets and 1-800-838-3006. It’s a clever touch when cast members generously offer a complimentary selection of sweet little treats at intermission. Enjoy!