Full Length Play
Time Period - 1910s / WWI
Settings Of Play -
The gallery of Ambroise Vollard in Paris, 1913.
FEATURES / CONTAINS
No intermission, Physical Comedy
Interior Set, Unit Set/Multiple Settings, Bare Stage/Simple Set
No Special Cautions
Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
RECOGNITION / AWARDS
It is 1913 in Paris, where renowned art dealer Ambroise Vollard has just published The Frugal Repast, an edition of etchings by Pablo Picasso, the rising young star of the Paris art world. The art dealer entertains his dinner guests Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Guillaume Apollinaire, along with Picasso, and they engage in lively and urbane repartee. The two impoverished circus performers depicted in The Frugal Repast see the etching on display in the window of Vollard's gallery and determine to steal it for ransom. If the artist can make money from stealing their faces, they say, then they can make money by stealing his print. The circus acrobats cleverly use their aerial skills to perform a stunning theft of the print, leaving in its place a ransom note asking for a thousand francs. Vollard, merely amused by the theft, replaces the stolen print with another one from the same edition. The ransom note, the duplicate prints, a mysterious invitation, and a delicious chicken curry all provoke both laughter and thought as the haves and have-nots wrestle over the value of art—and of life itself.
"Hirsen has a refreshing surprise in store: a lovely, compact tale that is thoughtful without being show-offy, stimulating without being heavy-handed... Mr. Hirsen nicely brings highbrow art types and lowbrow circus folk together and makes some nice points about the value of art, the ownership of art and the contrast between genius and nobility... But he doesn't beat these ideas to death... He knows the difference between just enough and too much... the savvy humor in the script comes through and he leaves it to the audience to draw the moral." - The New York Times
"A humorous but poignant script that provides insight into the world of art and class structure. Appropriate use of comedy creates hilarious situations without diminishing the message... fresh comedy with meaning." - Show Business Weekly
"Delightfully amusing yet poignant." - Curtain Up
The Frugal Repast was developed at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. The play was originally produced Off-Broadway by The Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City, under artistic directors Jan Buttram and Pamela Paul and managing director Samuel J. Bellinger on January 26, 2007. It was directed by Joe Grifasi.