On Friday night, February 26th, I accompanied a friend to the East End Grille (see my review here!) to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience: a play set within, and interacting with, a restaurant. After bracing the cold for a short walk from the Sullivan Square T stop on the Orange Line, I was happy to get inside the restaurant and order my food, while looking expectantly at the single table set in the middle of the bar area.
The play begins with a young woman discussing with her father what he sees on that lone table: he says it’s shining red and gold, and the daughter, Bella, is gently disagreeing. The man is wearing a hospital gown, and the audience begins to wonder: why are we seeing this intimate discussion between parent and child? The father seems to be out of it, and his hospital gown indicates that he doesn’t fit into this bar scene. Eventually, he retreats, and the action starts for real.
It’s Bella’s 25th birthday! As she explains to her friend, Emily, Bella has brought her friends to this bar tonight to celebrate with her; they’re from different groups, though, and the idea of different people meeting and interacting with one another, while their one main connection is their friendship with Bella, is worrying. The audience also finds out that the man in the hospital gown from before is Bella’s dying father, currently in the hospital. Emily, who works in a hospital as a trainee surgeon, tries to give advice to Bella, but she’s frustrated with her situation and has made up her mind: that night, she wanted to have fun.