The Big Meal
September 3, 2013 - October 6, 2013
By Dan LeFranc
Directed By Dámaso Rodriguez**

Set in a quintessential American restaurant, entire lives whiz by for a modern family whose stage and age are short-order fare. From birth to that inevitable last course – and every corndog, calamari and Cadillac margarita in-between – a multi-generational potluck of characters live life’s major and minor moments around the dinner table. Expect humor and heartache as eight actors portraying 26 characters and five generations serve up a veritable theatrical feast.
West Coast Premiere • Off-Broadway Hit • New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award Winner


Woman #1 Vana O'Brien*^
Man #1 Allen Nause*^
Woman #2  Val Landrum* 
Man #2  Scott Lowell*
Woman #3 Britt Harris+
Man #3 Andy Lee-Hillstrom*  
Girl  Agatha Olson
Boy Harper Lea
Server Gavin Hales










Scenic Designer  Susan Gratch
Costume Designer  Jessica Bobillot
Lighting Designer Brent J. Sullivan
Composer/Sound Designer   Rodolfo Ortega^
Props Designer Rusty Tennant
Stage Manager Michelle Jazuk* 
Assistant Director John Steinkamp
Production Manager Stephanie Mulligan* 
Production Assistant    Gavin Hales







*Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
** Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
^ Artists Rep Resident Artist



Join the cast and crew for post-show discussion after the 2pm matinees on September 8, 15, 18, 22 & 29.

Happy Hours, Surprise nights and Book clubs oh my! Click here for a full schedule of activities sure to make your theatre experience even more rewarding.

TRAILER! Check out the video trailer for The Big Meal here then share it with your friends!

Click here to see photos of the production by Owen Carey.

Assistant Director of The Big Meal, John Steinkamp, spoke with playwright Dan Le Franc recently. Click here to read a transcript of the conversation.

STUDY GUIDE - Click here to read the extensive study guide for The Big Meal - a great resource!

Click here to read a detailed synopsis of The Big Meal. SPOILER ALERT!

For cast & crew bios, a message from the director and lots of other cool tidbits, click here to check out the production's playbill.

PRODUCTION HISTORY: The Big Meal received its world premiere at American Theater Company in Chicago,  directed by Dexter Bullard, where it earned five Jefferson Award nominations including Best Play and was named The Best Play of the Year by Time Out-Chicago. It made its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons in April 2012, directed by Sam Gold and its Washington DC premiere at the Studio Theater, where it was directed by Johanna Gruenhut. Awards for The Big Meal include the Whitfield Cook Award, the John C. Russell Fellowship, a Djerassi Resident Artists Program Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony/Alpert Foundation Residency; and commissions from Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep and American Theatre Company in Chicago.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:  Dan LeFranc received the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for Sixty Miles to Silver Lake, premiered by Page 73 Productions and Soho Rep. His play The Big Meal received its world premiere at American Theatre Company in Chicago, where it was declared the “#1 Play of 2011” by Time Out Chicago and garnered five Joseph Jefferson Award nominations. The Big Meal received its off-Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons, where it picked up a Drama Desk nomination and four Lucille Lortel nominations, including for Outstanding Play. His most recent play, Troublemaker or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright recently premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Dan’s other plays include Backyard, Bruise Easy, Catgut, The Fishbone Fables, In the Labyrinth, Kill the Keepers, Night Surf, and Origin Story. Dan is currently working on commissions for Yale Rep, South Coast Rep, and Playwrights Horizons. He has been recognized with the Helen Merrill Award and the Whitfield Cook Award, plus a Djerassi Resident Artists Program Fellowship, a John C. Russell Fellowship, and two MacDowell Colony/Alpert Foundation Residencies. He is a member of the MCC Playwrights Coalition and New Dramatists, and a former member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. A graduate of the MFA playwriting program at Brown University, Dan served as head playwriting instructor for the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium and visiting faculty at Brown, SUNY Purchase, and Yale University, among others. Sixty Miles to Silver Lake and The Big Meal have been published by Samuel French. The Big Meal also appeared in TheatreForum, McSweeney’s quarterly food journal Lucky Peach, and the Methuen Drama Book of New American Plays, edited by Sarah Benson. Dan is currently the Playwright-In-Residence at Playwrights Horizons.


ABOUT THE DIRECTOR: Dámaso Rodriguez joined Artists Rep as artistic director in July of 2013.  He is a Co-Founder of the Los Angeles-based Furious Theatre Company, an ensemble-driven theatre committed to daring, socially relevant new plays of visceral impact, where he served as Co-Artistic Director from 2001-2012.  From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he directed main stage productions and oversaw programming for the Playhouse’s second stage, including its Hothouse New Play Development Program. His directing credits include work at the Pasadena Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre@Boston Court, Odyssey Theatre, The Blank Theatre, The Road Theatre and Furious Theatre. Recent productions include the West Coast premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys at Artists Rep, Ruth and Augustus Goetz' The Heiress (starring Richard Chamberlain); Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (starring Kelly McGillis) and Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow (starring Sharon Lawrence) at the Pasadena Playhouse; the reading of Steven Drukman’s The Prince of Atlantis for the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory, Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost at Intiman Theatre, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms and Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma at A Noise Within. Furious Theatre credits include the Los Angeles premieres of Craig Wright's Grace, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Boom and Hunter Gatherers, Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch, Yussef El Guindi's Back of the Throat, Richard Bean’s The God Botherers, Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, and the world premieres of Alex Jones’ Canned Peaches in Syrup and Matt Pelfrey’s An Impending Rupture of the Belly and No Good Deed, among many others.  Upcoming productions at Artists Rep include the U.S. premiere of Dawn King's Foxfinder and our revival of J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World. His film directing credits include the darkly comic feature Pure Shock Value, which was selected as the Centerpiece Film of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and episodes of the web series A G.A.N.G. by screenwriter Matt Pelfrey (MTV’s Skins). Dámaso is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Gold Crown Award. In 2010, Furious Theatre Company was named to LA Weekly’s list of “Best Theatres of the Decade.” In 2012, he was honored as a finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.


Dates: September 3 - October 6
Performances: Wednesday - Sunday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2pm
Opening Night is Saturday, September 7




Bob & Janet Conklin

Mark Spencer Hotel


The Oregonian



The Reviews...

"Crisp, clean, technically perfect, and drawing sensational performances from its actors, The Big Meal fulfills its promise as a Portland theatre milestone,” wrote Carol Wells for The Oregonian. Read the rest of the review here

“Watching The Big Meal is like flipping through a video-clip library of big family moments: births, deaths, weddings, breakups, bad jokes, booze-fueled declarations, insults and spats, reconciliations, tenderness and loss. Life happens, the story suggests, and death happens, and so it goes, and life goes on,” wrote Bob Hicks for Oregon Arts Watch. Read the full review here.

“It’s like a mosaic of the American experience within the family. The meal metaphor was very graceful and beautiful.” - Audience member

“It’s so beautifully constructed. Wonderfully acted and beautifully directed!” - Audience member

"Praise goes to LeFranc for crafting such a short but intensely personal play, and to director Damaso Rodriguez for staging it with verve and energy," wrote Patrick Brassell for Read it here.

“This is a rocket sled ride through 50 years of family life, with love, loss, joy and pain and everything it is to be human. I’m so happy to have seen it and felt it.” - Audience member

"... it's a smart, sentimental show, well produced, and its emotional aim is unerring," wrote Alison Hallett for Portland Mercury. Read the review here.

" Amazing play with so much power.”  Audience member

Tickets for Artists Rep's 2014/15 season are on sale now! Click on the link below to purchase or call our Box Office at 503.241.1278.