Friday, November 12, 2010


2 Across


By Chuck Graham,

Invisible Theatre has a tasty morsel in "2 Across" by Jerry Mayer, directed by Gail Fitzhugh.

Even though we pretty much always know where this train ride is taking us, the ride is still a lot of fun.

We enjoy "2 Across" because there are funny jokes told by people with substantial personalities.

2 Across

Read the entire review here:

3-letter word starting with 'f'

3-letter word starting with 'f'
Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010

Director Gail Fitzhugh has delivered a well-timed, tightly focused production of this Jerry Mayer script. It bops along nicely, with so many laugh lines that there's hardly time to breathe between them.

It helps that the actors in this two-person cast know what they are doing. Maedell Dixon and David Alexander Johnston slid into their characters with ease.

If you're up for an evening of comedy, get on board. This lightweight play is serious fun.

Read the entire review here:

Review of "2 Across" at Invisible Theatre, Tucson, AZ

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crosswords offer clues to life in '2 Across'

Crosswords offer clues to life in '2 Across': "
Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, November 5

[Playwright] Mayer, now 79 and retired from his last studio job as executive producer on 'The Facts of Life,' went after writing plays with the same gusto with which he had pursued television writing.
His play '2 Across' opens at Invisible Theatre next week. It is one of eight plays he has written and had produced; he's working on his ninth.

"2 Across" is about a man and a woman who meet on a subway train at 4 a.m. (Mayer took a trip to San Francisco and hopped a BART train at that hour to make sure it is plausible that two people could be alone on the train at that time - it was).

They are both working on crosswords - she is focused and precise, he is the opposite. When the crossword becomes too much for him, he turns to the sports page. She takes him to task, and a ride that sees deep changes in both of them begins.

On the face of it, it's a comedy. But Mayer strives for something more than a laugh.


Janet (Maedell Dixon) does crossword puzzles in pen while Josh (David Alexander Johnston) uses a pencil

Read the entire preview here:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Servings of Nostalgia | Review | Tucson Weekly

Servings of Nostalgia | Review | Tucson Weekly

Servings of Nostalgia

Two fine plays take Tucsonans back in time

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moonlight and Magnolias

Moonlight and Magnolias


By Chuck Graham
Let the Show Begin

"Moonlight and Magnolias" now at Invisible Theatre is the perfect play-going experience, full of emotional conflict, comedy and truth. Betsy Kruse Craig adds to the fun as director by keeping the pace at neck-snapping speed, zipping punch lines back and forth across the stage until it feels like you're watching one of those Chinese world championship ping-pong matches.

For Dwayne Palmer, "Moonlight and Magnolias" is his finest performance yet.

Giving away nothing in energy or alacrity, veteran actors Roberto Guajardo as garrulous writer Ben Hecht and Terry Erbe as arrogant director Victor Fleming are happy to push their own roles to equally emotional extremes.

Getting laughs with her rigid propriety is Victoria McGee playing Selznick's obedient secretary.

Read the full review at Moonlight and Magnolias.

Rewrite of 'Gone With the Wind' churns out fun

Rewrite of 'Gone With the Wind' churns out fun

Rewrite of 'Gone With the Wind' churns out fun

Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010

Director Betsy Kruse Craig's ramped up the humor with dialogue delivered in rapid fire and physical exchanges by Palmer and Erbe as they acted out the scenes for Guajardo's on-the-verge-of-bumbling Hecht.

Palmer brought to his impression of Scarlett O'Hara a deliciously funny feminism and exaggerated Southern twang while Erbe delivered an over-the-top Melanie in the throes of childbirth.

Hecht is a hard character to nail, but Guajardo convincingly conveyed him in all his shades

With delicious physical gestures and fabulously funny facial expressions, Victoria McGee's Miss Poppenghul was a delight.

PHOTO BY TIM FULLER / COURTESY INVISIBLE THEATREDwayne Palmer (with book), Terry Erbe and Roberto Guajardo in Invisible Theatre's "Moonlight and Magnolias."

Moonlight and Magnolias

Friday, September 10, 2010

'Gone With the Wind' tempest blows again

'Gone With the Wind' tempest blows again

Jackie Tran For The Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010

Who knew the Academy Award-winning "Gone With the Wind" was nearly gone with the wind.

Three weeks after filming began on the 1939 movie version of Margaret Mitchell's best-selling novel, producer David O. Selznick screeched production to a halt, fired the great director George Cukor, then stopped production on "The Wizard of Oz" so that its director, Victor Fleming, could direct "Gone With the Wind." Then Selznick hired ace scriptwriter Ben Hecht (about the 13th to work on it), put him in a room with himself and Fleming, and set a deadline: Five days and a new script.

What happened in those five days is the subject of Ron Hutchinson's comedy "Moonlight and Magnolias," which Invisible Theatre opens next week.

Read the entire preview in the Arizona Daily Star, click: 'Gone With the Wind' tempest blows again

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

'Empty Plate' surprisingly satisfying

'Empty Plate' surprisingly satisfying

'Empty Plate' surprisingly satisfying

Invisible Theatre closes 39th season with powerful play

Posted May 3, 2010, 9:55 am

At first glance, the premise of "An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf "might seem unsubstantial. However, this last production of the Invisible Theatre’s 39th season provides belly laughs, a dollop of irony and even some bittersweet emotional moments of truth.


Photo credit: Tim Fuller

The cast. (seated) Roberto Guajardo; (left to right) Sean Dupont, Cynthia Jeffery, David Johnston, Carrie Hill and Brad Kula

Friday, April 30, 2010



by Chuck Graham

Let the Show Begin

Hold the food puns for a minute and let’s be serious. Roberto Guajardo gives another wonderful over-the-top performance at Invisible Theatre in “An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf.” What a season he is having. From the multiple characters in “Leaving Iowa” last autumn to the crazily colorful Pancho Villa last winter, to the suicidal gourmet in the recently-opened black comedy “Empty Plate.”

There hasn’t been a time that I can remember in Tucson theater when a local actor gave three exceptional performances in one season.

As for “Empty Plate,” this quirky play by Michael Hollinger almost defies description. There’s food, of course, and descriptions of gourmet dishes that would make a menu writer’s jaw drop in awe.

Succulent adjectives of every texture and flavor lace the script as the chef and maitre d’ extol the scintillating virtues of each new offering from the world class kitchen of the Café du Grand Boeuf.

But there is also suicide. Guajardo plays Victor the severely depressed billionaire who plans to end it all slowly and with contemplation by starving to death while dictating the story of his life to the waiter Antoine (Brad Kula), dutifully sitting at the next table with note pad and pencil.

In this metaphorical world, Victor owns a tiny restaurant with three tables and one customer – himself. No one else may dine here at the Cafe du Grand Boeuf.

Staffing the ultra-exclusive establishment are the chef Gaston (David Alexander Johnston), the maitre‘d Claude (Sean Dupont) and the waiter Mimi (Carrie Hill).

According to Victor’s instructions the staff must be ready at all times to serve any dish Victor requests.

Could there ever be such an elaborate dining arrangement for any billionaire any where? Probably not, but it does sort of sound like something Howard Hughes would do.

But with the four staffers having such cushy jobs, it is easy to imagine their panic one evening when a moribund Victor announces he is going to commit suicide. These desperate employees run through all the stages of grief ranging from anger to acceptance.

At Claude’s insistence the staff will prepare a glorious seven course meal in the kitchen, but they won’t serve it to Victor. Instead, these vigilant loyalists will bring out an empty plate, and then describe the epicurean creation that would be on the plate if Victor wasn’t so determined to commit suicide.

Victor, of course, must agree to savor every word. Reluctantly, he agrees…which sets the play in motion. A play about death must, of course, also be a play about life. And for life to continue there must be food.

So far, so good. Hollinger the playwright loves word play as well as the overblown literary striving so often associated with the menus that accompany such elegant dining. The word play is fun for the actors as well as the audience.

There are also a number of quotable lines worthy of becoming bumper stickers. “Appetite is hunger combined with hope” says one.

Victor made his money in journalism, which does date the play a bit (it was written in the 1990s and set in Paris in 1961). So think of“Empty Plate” as a historical drama linking journalism, Hemingway, the lack of literary imagination in writing obituaries, the pageantry of bull fights and many wonderful descriptions of food.

Underneath the deathly humor is an insistence on the powerful drive to survive and thrive. Even though Victor sees no reason to live any longer, those around him see lots of reasons to keep on living.

Performances of “An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf” continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, to May 16 at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. Tickets are $22-$25 general admission; rush tickets one hour before curtain (when available). For reservations and details, 882-9721, or visit

'Empty Plate' full of rich theater fare

'Empty Plate' full of rich theater fare


'Empty Plate' full of rich theater fare

Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010

Warning: Don't come to see Invisible Theatre's production of "An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf" on an empty stomach.

You'll torture yourself as plate by plate of French dishes is described in a saliva-inducing feast of adjectives and adverbs.

Descriptions are all you will get; the real food is left in the kitchen in this one-act play by Michael Hollinger and all we see are empty plates served to Monsieur Victor (Roberto Guajardo), the millionaire proprietor of the finest restaurant in the world whose only diner is himself.

Victor's devoted staff - the stammering new-kid-in-the-dining room Antoine (Brad Kula), the gastronomically sadistic waiter Claude (Sean Dupont), his unhappy wife/waitress Mimi (Carrie Hill) and chef Gaston (David Alexander Johnston) - are determined to dissuade him from his wish to die of starvation in his restaurant.

Throughout the 90-minute production, admirably directed by Samantha K. Wyer, the staff delivers empty dish after empty dish of savory, sweet, scrumptious culinary masterpieces that would break down a monk's resolve.



"An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf" presented by Invisible Theatre. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays, through May 16 at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. 882-9721.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@com or 573-4642.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Empty Plate' brings much to the table

'Empty Plate' brings much to the table

'Empty Plate' brings much to the table

Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010

Michael Hollinger isn't a gourmand, a millionaire or a big Hemingway fan. But Victor, the main character in Hollinger's play, "An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf," is each of those.

"An Empty Plate," which Invisible Theatre will open next week, is a comedy laced with drama about a very rich man (Victor), who quotes Hemingway often and has an exquisite restaurant in Paris that is open 24/7 and serves only him.

And he's decided to kill himself by starving to death. That stresses Victor's staff of a chef and waiters to no end - their purpose to life is to serve him. What will they do if they no longer can do that?

It is Hollinger's first play - one he wrote as an antidote to a too-structured film class.

READ MORE ... 'Empty Plate' brings much to the table

TIM FULLER / INVISIBLE THEATRECynthia Jeffery and Roberto Guajardo in Invisible Theatre's production of "An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf," about a rich man with a restaurant that serves only him. Yet he's decided to starve himself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pastime Players reflect many talents

Pastime Players reflect many talents

M. Scot Skinner | Posted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

A fascinating documentary about the Pastime Players, a Tucson troupe that showcases the abilities of people with developmental disabilities, is one of 18 feature films selected for the 2010 Arizona International Film Festival.

"Such Good Friends" goes behind the scenes with the inspiring ensemble, which took its name from the street within the Amphitheater school district, where the Pastime Players originated 25 years ago.

Under the constant and energetic guidance of Susan Claassen, Gail Fitzhugh and other professionals from Tucson's Invisible Theatre, the players have rehearsed and performed at Catalina High Magnet School since 1990.

You can see "Such Good Friends," a film by Claassen and Cyndee Wing, at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Crossroads theater on East Grant Road.

Although the documentary was first screened at the Loft Cinema a year ago, Claassen and Wing continued sharpening and shaping the film, and they consider Saturday's screening to be the premiere. Admission is $6.

The remarkably effective film, which includes footage of the performers and interviews with several sets of parents and caregivers, also was selected for next month's inaugural Black Hills Film Festival, to be held in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.

Read more: Pastime Players reflect many talents

Photo: THE INVISIBLE THEATRE, Verl Foley of the Pastime Players will be portraying the White Rabbit in the "Alice in Wonderland" portion of Monday's "The Me Inside of Me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2010-2911 Season Auditions





The Invisible Theatre will hold auditions for their 2010-2011 Season on Saturday, March 27, 2010 beginning at 3:30 PM. Auditions will be held at the Invisible Theatre (1400 N. First Avenue at Drachman).

Parts are available for men and women, ages 14 – 60's.

Please call the Invisible Theatre (520-884-0672) with your name and phone contact to sign up for an audition time. All actors are compensated.

Actors must bring a recent headshot and resume. Those new to the theatre are asked to perform a 2 minute contemporary monologue.