Blog & Community

Notes from the Director About “Empty Plate”

When I read Empty Plate, I was hooked right away.  It seemed only fitting that a play about exquisite food be presented at the epicenter of the culinary universe (loca-vores galore), Oregon.  As exquisite a play as it is, we had a scary week or two in October/November 2013 when we learned we had to scuttle our planned January production and start a fresh search for our January show.  Really….start from scratch at such a late date?  Finding a new script and getting the casting for a new show within two weeks is a daunting task!  But, when Carr presented the board with the Empty Plate script we were all smitten.  By late November we voted to do it and luckily we were able to cast it so voila — we were off and running.  Well, not running that fast… those darned holidays got in the way posing a huge obstacle to our rehearsal schedules. We couldn’t get together as a cast for weeks and a member of two became pretty sick…  It was touch and go.  Would we make it, skating on such thin ice?

Well, this hearty, intrepid crew worked hard those 4 weeks.  Without ever getting a chance to rehearse in person they had all of their lines memorized.  Having that prep work done proved to be a brilliant strategy because we got down to brass tacks at the first rehearsal. In other words, we actually did hit the ground running!  We have had a whale of a good time discovering the blocking, jokes, humor, pathos and heart of Empty Plate — even at a breakneck pace.  We hope you enjoy your evening as much as we enjoyed preparing it for you!

Meet the Cast of “Empty Plate” – Nate Travers

Nate is a long time Newberg resident who enjoys his work as a graphic designer and screenprinter at Rendered, LLC. He spends his free time helping with local community events such as Newberg’s Oktoberfest and Tunes on Tuesday. Nate is also on the board of directors for the Chehalem Players Repertory.

Victor's-Next-PlateNate is excited to be back on the stage with CPR. He debuted on the CPR stage in the 2013 production Betrayal, coincidentally playing a waiter, which he plays in “Empty Plate.” Here he is, as Antoine the waiter-in-training, holding the serving tray as Claude (played by Jeff Sargent) serves an empty plate to Victor.

Meet the Cast of “Empty Plate” – Jaime Flatters

Jaime Flatters is a life long Oregonian. She moved to the Newberg area with her husband Michael 4 years ago. Jaime has participated in many theater productions both on stage and behind the scenes.

Victor & Mimi dancing in the Cafe du Grand BoeufJaime’s love of the theater was reignited by Chehalem Players Rep co-founders, Donna and Kym who are regulars of Subterra Restaurant where Jaime works. Jaime overheard them talking shop, expressed an interest, auditioned and voila! Here she is!  Jaime plays Mimi, a waitress at the Café du Grand Boeuf and wife of Claude, the headwaiter.

When not on stage Jaime can be found most evenings at Subterra Restaurant talking wine and serving the patron fabulous food.

Meet the Cast of “Empty Plate” – Karen Halliday

Karen received her BA degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her Masters Degree from Purdue University. She spent 35 years as an educator. She was a special education teacher and administrator in elementary school and high school. She spent 32 years working in higher education including six years when she served as Dean of Student Services in the Chancellor’s Office of California Community Colleges. From 2002 until she retired in July 2007, she was the President of Las Positas Community College in California. Karen was selected as the Teacher of the Year for Foothill-DeAnza Community College District in 1987, East Bay Educator of the Year in 2005, and designated as one of the Ten Most Influential Women in the Bay Area in 2006.

Victor-and-MuseAfter her retirement, Karen and her husband Jim moved to Newberg, OR. In addition to her work with Willamette Shakespeare, where she is currently on the board, she serves as President of the Chehalem Cultural Center Board. Karen is making her acting debut in “Empty Plate.” She plays Louise, Victor’s muse and love interest.

Meet the Cast – Jim Halliday

Jim has Theatre Arts Degrees from Foothill College and Cal State University, San Jose. He worked for several years as a media designer at DeAnza College in the early 70s where he met his wife, Karen. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, as a direct result of his audio soundtracks and media work, Jim became heavily involved in working with blind people. In 1988, Jim co-founded and became CEO of HumanWare (, a company that designs and distributes technology for people who are blind, visually and/or print impaired.

Jim and Karen moved their permanent residence to Oregon in 2007 and now enjoy full retirement at their small Pinot Noir vineyard on Ribbon Ridge. Jim helped with the early development of Willamette Shakespeare and is currently President of the Board.

Jim Halliday as Victor Jim played Mr. Rice in the Chehalem Players production of Molly Sweeney in 2012. Jim is delighted to be back in this production and with this cast! He plays Victor, the owner and sole patron of the Café du Grand Boeuf.


Empty Plate in the Newberg Graphic!

Enjoy this great article below by Katy Sword of the Newberg Graphic. She recently interviewed Kym Herbst about our first play of the season: An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf – a tragic comedy.

Download article as PDF: Its a Comedy, Really, Say Producers

Tickets are on sale on our website for the following performances:

  • Friday/Saturday, January 24th/25th at 8:00pm
  • Sunday, January 26th at 2:00pm
  • Friday/Saturday, January 31st/February 1st at 8:00pm
  • Sunday, February 2nd at 2:00pm

Doors open 30 minutes before the performance starts.

Meet the Cast – Jeff Sargent

Jeff Sargent is returning to the stage in Newberg in the role of Claude in CPR’s production of Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf. He last appeared as Elwood Dowd in Valley Repertory’s production of Harvey in 2012.

If you are a “valley” theater-goer, Jeff’s talent are apparent. Jeff is a board member of the Gallery Theater in McMinnville and has been featured in several shows including The 39 Steps,  On Golden Pond, Don’t Dress for Dinner, and Greater Tuna. Jeff’s talented wife, Julia, also performs. She is currently cast as Maggie in the Gallery Theater’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

When not at the theater Jeff and Julia can often be found in the garden or in a nearby restaurant or wine bar.

Meet the Cast – Gerry Birnbach

This is Gerry’s third production with CPR. He was in The Christmas Show in our first season, played Robert in Betrayal (alongside Nate Travers) in our second season, and plays Gaston, the Chef, in Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf this season.

Although Gerry cannot cook (or even use a microwave), he is very excited to be playing Gaston because he fell in love with restaurants when his parents took him to the London Grill in Portland for his eighth birthday.

Empty Plate Tickets Now on Sale!

Empty PlateCPR is pleased to announce that tickets are on sale for the first of this season’s productions: An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf by Michael Hollinger!

Headwaiter Claude, waiter-in-training Antoine, waitress Mimi and chef Gaston are shocked and dismayed when Victor, the Café’s owner and sole patron, returns from the bullfights in Madrid, longing for Mademoiselle, morose and planning to die of starvation. Their very livelihoods depend upon Victor’s appetite, so they beg him to let them “serve” one last meal. Leaving each course in the kitchen, they surround the table describing the aromas, flavors and tastes!  Their goal?  For Victor to capitulate and ask to eat the meal, of course!

A “comic tragedy in seven courses” celebrating the joys of cooking, sex, bullfighting and the collected works of Ernest Hemingway, An Empty Plate will be an evening you will savor!

Eventbrite - An Empty Plate at the Cafe de Grand Boeuf

CPR – Now Officially a DOT_ORG!

Somehow, when we started this adventure, we registered as business and a “dot_com” while our intent was to create a vehicle for bringing cutting edge theater to our local community, Chehalem Valley and (eventually) to Willamette Valley at large.

Fast forward!  We are now a 501(3)(c) – a charitable organization that is involved in the arts, culture and humanities – which is what we always intended. It took almost 2 years of pestering the IRS to change our status from a “corporation” (like we’re in this to make money).  We’ve arrived. We’re there. We are a charitable ORGanization!

Now when you become a sponsor or donate money to us, it is your choice:

  • If you are a business, you may prefer to contribute and take a marketing expense.
  • If you are an individual, your contribution is tax deductible.

Bringing cutting edge theater to Chehalem Valley and Willamette Valley is our business. Oops, we’re not a business anymore!

Thanks for supporting CPR!