Theater Emory Stages Comedic New Work "The Tatischeff Café"

March 7, 2019

ATLANTA - Theater Emory closes the 2018-2019 season with “The Tatischeff Café,” April 4-14 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater. Written by Emory faculty John Ammerman, and co-directed by John Ammerman and Clinton Thornton, this new work is a comic pantomime with music, magic, and a host of eccentric characters. Told in French gibberish with English subtitles, the play is a tribute to great filmmaker and mime, Jacques Tati.

Creator of this movement piece, John Ammerman, shares his inspiration for the play, “I first saw Tati’s work in ‘Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday,’ which began a long period of admiration for Tati’s world of mishap, misunderstanding, and calamity. I have always treasured his sense of simple comic-coincidence, so for years I have been wanting to construct a play that was original in style, but a tribute to a variety of designs in the flavor of Tati’s work.”

“The Tatischeff Café” offers a visual world without dialogue, where language is communicated by voice-over narration, signs, and projections all accompanied by music and sound effects. Character behavior tells the story, “movement is there to expand, heighten, and accentuate those qualities for an audience to observe, either for comic purposes or for dramatic mirroring. A person can say one thing, but the body tells the tale,” explains Ammerman, who is also an actor in this production.

Set in a French café in 1982 and narrated through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy, “The Tatischeff Café,” features a community of villagers who all have an extreme admiration for the fictional Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s famous cinematic character. While honoring Hulot’s birthday, characters dress in his likeness, celebrating the spirit of happiness and calamity alongside the chaos of everyday life. Through it all, the Ghost of Tati as Monsieur Hulot graces the premises of the café with curiosity and humor. 

“Come and share it, let it trigger things in you. I am convinced that this play will make you laugh, chuckle, feel a kindness and a tender longing, and the joy of watching a story with people that would die for each other- even as crazy and goofy as they are,” invites Ammerman. 

Performances of Theater Emory’s “The Tatischeff Café” are April 4-6 and 10-13 at 7:30 p.m. and April 7 and 14 at 2 p.m. in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater of the Alumni Memorial University Center on the Emory University campus.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 discount category members, and $5 for industry members and all students. Pay-What-You-Wish Night is April 10. Tickets are available online at tickets.arts.emory.edu, by phone 404-727-5050, or in person at the Arts at Emory Box Office. For additional information, visit theater.emory.edu.

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Theater Emory

Theater Emory is the professional producing organization in residence at Emory University. It operates under a season agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Liberal arts undergraduates work with professional directors, actors, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, choreographers, composers, music directors, and stage managers.