the lengnthy explanations I am forced to make may be annoying; I am sorry, but they are necessary.
This is a play about a large kitchen in a restaurant called the Tivoli. All kitchens, especially during service, go insane. There is the rush, there are the petty quarrels, grumbles, false prides and snobbery. Kitchen staff instinctively hate dining-room staff and all of them hate the customer. He is the personal enemy. The world might have been a stage for Shakespeare but to me it is a kitchen; where people come and go and cannot stay long enough to understand each other, and friendships, loves and enmities are forgotten as quickly as they are made.
The quality of the food here is not so important as the speed with which it is served. Each person has his own particular job. We glance in upon him, high-lighting as it were the individual. But though we may watch just one or a group of people, the rest of the kitchen staff does not. They work on.
So, because activity must continue while the main action is played out we shall study, together with a diagram of the kitchen, who comes in and what they do.
The waitresses spend the morning working in the dining-room before they eat their lunch. But throughout the morning there are about three or four who wander in and out carrying glasses from the glasserie to the dining-room. Others wander into the steam room emptying their buckets of water; they carry mops and they have scarves on their heads. One or two others perform duties which are mentioned in the course of the play. During the service the waitresses are continually coming out of the dining-room and ordering dishes from the cooks. The dishes are served on silver, and the waitresses take about six plates out of the hot-plate immediately under the serving-counter. Stocks of plates are replenished all the time by the porters. These are highly efficient waitresses. They make a circuit round the kitchen calling at the stations they require. They move fast and carry large quantities of dishes in their arms.
The kitchen porters who are mixed of Cypriots and Maltese are divided into various sections. Firstly there are those who do the actual washing of cutlery, tins and plates by machine; these we do not see. But we do see the two porters by the swill. During the service the waitresses bring their dirty plates to the swill and these two porters push the remains of food into two holes leading to bins under the counter and push the dirty plate (out of sight) to the men at the machine. Two other porters continually replace clean plates under the serving counter so that the waitresses can take them as required. Another sweeps up at regular intervals and throws sawdust around.
The woman who serves the cheeses and desserts we hardly and rarely see through the glass partition back of stage, but every now and then she comes to the pastry section to replenish her supplies of tarts and pastries. The coffee woman simply supplies cups of coffee from an urn to the waitresses as they call for it.