Your Restaurant Scene Isn’t Working

I have read countless scenes that take place in a restaurant.


Two people sit down. They look at the menu. They talk about the entres. They order. And… I am…. asleep…..

This is exactly what happens when two people go into a restaurant. It makes sense to follow that pattern, especially if you think that a restaurant is the perfect place for a scene.

But no one goes to the theatre to see the way things are usually done. No one cares if Jimmy orders the french soup and Jane orders a green salad. If they wanted to see what goes on in a real restaurant they would go to a restaurant. They’re not at a restaurant. They’re at a theatre.

You have to do two things with your restaurant scene. Right now.

  1. Get to the point.  We don’t need to see two people ordering soup to know they’re in a restaurant.  Why are they they? How does this scene help move the play forward?
  2. Make it extraordinary. That’s what people want to see. They want to see something they recognize twisted into something that just doesn’t happen in daily life.

Keep in mind – extraordinary doesn’t have to mean aliens drop kicking the white house. It could. That would be something to see. It could be as simple as the waiter taking the orders at that restaurant breaks down at the table because french onion soup reminds her of her husband who left her for their French Canadian neighbour yesterday. That is something that doesn’t happen every day to two people ordering in a restaurant.

Don’t discount the aliens though, that would be interesting too.


  • Make a list of five ordinary situations. Eating in a restaurant. Driving to work. Sitting at your desk. Washing dishes.
  • With each situation brain storm five extraordinary events that might happen in that situation.
  • Choose one situation and one event and write that scene. Dont get caught up with reality or money or that could never happen. Just write the scene.

Here is a great example of what I mean by taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. In this video a man makes tea. That’s it. And yet the manner in which he makes tea is far from ordinary….