After a successful remount of Avenue Q, Horizon Theatre is presenting the world premiere of The Waffle Palace: Smothered, Covered & Scattered 24/7/365, written by Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee. Based on real-life experiences at a similarly named restaurant, this new comedy has been serving up laughter with a side of heart to enthusiastic audiences since it opened on May 11. Marguerite Hannah, who plays long-time waitress Connie, answers a few questions about her character, the play and her love of Atlanta theater.
You play Connie, a long-time waitress at the Waffle Palace. How would you describe her?
I would describe Connie as “a rock,” a foundational personality (if that is a term). She has worked at the Waffle Palace for 23 years. She has raised her son on the income from this job. Connie is the backbone of the staff and a friend to her regulars.
What do you enjoy the most about playing her?
She is honest and sincere. She has compassion and a big heart without being syrupy.
Did you visit any restaurants or do any research to get ready for the role?
I didn’t have to do particular research for this show. I have eaten at Waffle House restaurants, diners like the Majestic and soul food kitchens my whole life. I am not a person who looks through people or passed them. I am always watching people.
What is your favorite part of the play?
Without giving away too much, all Hell breaks loose when a patron orders something other than waffles. It is fun to play, and the audience has a great time with the moment.
Connie interacts with a few unique characters. Which one is your favorite and why?
Miss Vivian, the drag queen, is Connie’s favorite. Connie and Vivian have a strong connection and the audience is happy to meet Vivian when she arrives. But Connie loves all her regulars!
The cast is a talented group. What is it like to work with the other cast members?
We have an extremely talented cast. Working with such a talented group raises your game. Acting in an ensemble is like building blocks. The more imaginative and creative the moment before is, the more your juices flow without reservation.
What should audiences expect when they see the play?
A lot of belly laughs…..Waffle Palace is a wild comedy romp with heart.
Of all the roles you have played, which one is your favorite?
Wow, that is a hard question. It first starts with loving the entire production and the cast. Then, it the story you get to tell. Connie in the Waffle Palace is becoming one of my favorites.
What do you enjoy best about working in Atlanta Theater?
I have done theater across the country and worked with actors and artists from all over. Atlanta Theater is a family affair. We can compete and support and uplift all in a single healthy breath. And as a group we are very talented, and l enjoy working at the top of our game.
Have your seen a play or musical recently that has moved you?
August: Osage County at the Alliance. The ensemble was all Atlanta-based actors. They had a great story to tell, and they told it really well. And the design concept just worked.
Do you have another project coming up next?
I have no idea what is next. I just hope to tell another great story!
You can see Marguerite Hannah in The Waffle Palace: Smothered, Covered & Scattered 24/7/365 at Horizon Theatre through July 1. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website.