“I wanted to do a play in a café because one of my favorite things to do is sit in cafés and listen to other people’s conversations,” says Erin Mee, co-founder and co–artistic director of This Is Not A Theatre Company. “They always feel very theatrical to me.”
Founded in 2013 by Mee and Jessie Bear, This Is Not A Theatre Company (TINATC)’s plays take place in unusual, non-theatre spaces all over New York City. There have been plays in pools and on the subway, a play collaboration with chef David Bouley at his test kitchen, a play in an apartment called “Versailles,” and an ongoing podcast play that can be purchased and listened to aboard the Staten Island Ferry.
In TINATC’s latest production, Café Play, a series of vignettes tell the stories of customers, wait staff, and even teacups, which all have a life of their own in a small café in New York’s West Village. Conceived and directed by Mee, the play features scenes written by Bear as well as Jenny Lyn Bader, Colin Waitt, and Mee herself, with choreography by Jonathan Matthews.