As longtime Atlanta playwrights Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee see it, the Waffle House witching hour occurs every morning around 3 a.m. That’s the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moment when babies are born in the parking lot and cops Taser waiters just for fun. That’s precisely the mood the legendary duo hope to capture in their latest effort, “The Waffle Palace: Smothered, Covered, and Scattered 24/7/365,” running May 11 to June 24 at Little Five Points’ Horizon Theatre Company.
Egged on by a 2009 AJC story chronicling outrageous, real-life events at Atlanta Waffle Houses (including both incidents mentioned above), they dish up a platter of scrambled characters whose Midtown waffle shack is jeopardized by a real estate developer wanting to build a behemoth multiuse project.
Larson and Lee’s most recent effort, “Charm School” (Horizon), won the 2007 Suzi Bass playwriting award—Atlanta theater’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tonys. Both Charm School, a satire of corporate diversity training, and “The Bench,” a 2002 Alliance Theatre Christmas play, were relatively mellow comedies for writers who burst onto the local scene in the eighties with “The Blood Orgy Trilogy,” a series of B-movie riffs glutted with “chain-gang Amazon women, chain saw stewardesses, and zombie assassins.” “Waffle Palace” may signal a return to their gonzo roots.
For inspiration, Larson has been sopping up atmosphere at Waffle Houses near his Marietta home. Like the raucous behavior, the food just gets better as the night wears on: “When you are kind of drunk,” he quips, finishing an omelet at a location on Roswell Road, “it really tastes good.” horizontheatre.com
Illustration by PJ Loughran