The Grey Teacup Café Implores Viewers to Reflect on Happiness

“This play is about finding happiness,” Elliot Joyce PZ ’18 said of his play “The Grey Teacup Café,” which debuted at Scripps College's Motley Coffeehouse on April 22.

Although the play presented a storyline specific to the characters’ lives, the problems they faced are universal.

“[The] characters are asked whether or not they’re happy. They’re forced to consider whether outside factors are stopping them from achieving their goals or if they’re holding themselves back,” Joyce said.

Café owner Amanda, played by Kyra Ghosh PZ ’17, spends hours slaving away at her café in an effort to honor her deceased father and take care of her younger sister, Alice. Preoccupied with this, Amanda forgets to really get to know Alice as an individual.

Meanwhile, café waitress Elizabeth, played by Claire Pukszta SC ’19, has worked her whole life — as a student, waitress, and “big sister” — but has neglected to nurture the frightened girl within herself. Even Tyler, played by Julien Chien CM ’17, who outwardly appears entitled and confident, finds himself sabotaging both his and his friend’s relationships because of his fear of commitment.

At one point in the play, Henry, played by Emma Elliot SC '19 ,says, “It’s almost like you’re scared to be happy.”

The characters are all so focused on controlling their lives that they miss out on the emotional substance that will reallly lead them to the happiness they claim to seek.

The only character in the play who understood the importance of exploration, desire, and true happiness was Alice, who dies.

The production beautifully pinned together multiple storylines, all alluding to the appealing but frightening exposure of happiness, wrapping the characters as well as audience into a bundle of emotion and rumination.

Pangrum Boonbaichaiyapruck PO ’20 enjoyed this different form of theatre, where the audience almost feels like part of the scene.

“It’s like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation,” she said. “You’re sitting at a café and listening to other people talk but you’re not actually a part of the storyline.”

Michelle Henderson SC ’19 also commented on the setup of the play. 

“I liked how when you walk in, it really is like you’re at a café,” she said. “The booklet was the menu and they seated you as if you [were] at a real café so it [made] you feel like you were a part of the show.”

Boonbaichaiyapruck reflected on how when you’re in a public location, you see people going on with their lives, sitting, walking, etc., yet everyone has their own intricate stories which we never realize or acknowledge.

“It was interesting to see previews of different stages of their lives and their growth,” she said.

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