Poet playwright Garret Jon Groenveld has written a gem of a play that focuses on a middle-aged couple who has just dropped off their daughter at college and takes a side trip to the Grand Canyon before returning to their now-empty house. It’s a common situation for many of us, yet I don’t recall seeing it portrayed in the theater before.
Real-life wife and husband Pamela Gaye Walker and John Walker beautifully play the empty nesters who are looking to the future, not quite knowing what it holds for them. The two have a natural connection that works well onstage, and they convincingly portray a couple dealing with life changes. The dialogue was so real that these two felt like people I might have known, and furthermore, people I’d like to know. By the end of the first scene, we’ve gotten rich details of their life that paint a vivid picture of who they are and who they have been without it ever feeling like someone is providing the audience with back story. The set, though simple, provided everything necessary for the three different locales needed for the play, and the transitions from one scene to the next were seamless.
The Empty Nesters has heart, humor, and even a touch of mystery, all of which make for a satisfying evening of theater. Go see it!
A PlayGround and Virago Theatre Company co-production at San Francisco’s Thick House through June 14. http://playground-sf.org/emptynesters/