With a slew of northwest and west coast premieres, Seattle's Empty Space Theatre will host a diverse group of theatrical "people," from Adam Baum and the Jew Movie to Salvador Dali (as in Jose Rivera's References To Salvador Dali Make Me Hot) to Killer Joe.
But first there will be Charles Ludlam's little-known comedy, Reverse Psychology. In this sophisticated comedy -- think Noel Coward as performed by the Marx Brothers -- Dr. Silver, a psychiatrist, is sleeping with one of his patients, even as his wife, Dr. Gold, also a psychiatrist, is doing the same. What they don't know is that their patients also happened to be married -- to each other. Eddie Levi Lee directs the play, running Nov. 3-Dec. 16.
Making its west coast premiere will be Daniel Goldfarb's Adam Baum and the Jew Movie, on stage Jan. 5, 2001-Feb. 10. In 1946 Hollywood, the studios are all racing each other to make movie about anti-Semitism in America (Moss Hart had been hired by Darryl F. Zanuck to turn out "Gentleman's Agreement" at the time). Sam Baum, once a penniless immigrant, now a wealthy studio boss, hires a gentile to do the work for him, rejecting the man's harsh indictment of bigots, while asking for something with "a little more box office appeal." Adam Greenfield directs. The Off-Broadway production this past season starred Ron Leibman.
Rod Pilloud will approach the salaciously titled References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, running Feb. 23-March 24. In this mystical work set in the desert of Barstow, California, Gabriela, a young wife, waits for her soldier husband Benito to come back to her while a cat and a coyote dance together outside, and the moon plays fiddle for the lovers.
Denizens of the trailer park will have their say in Tracy Letts' Killer Joe, making its northwest premiere April 6-May 19. While Ansel sits around his mobile home, drinking beer and watching TV, his wife Sharla works at Pizza Hut and runs around with her current boyfriend. Domestic bliss is about to change, however, when lame-brained Chris ends up on the wrong side of a dope deal gone bad. The white trash solution? Hire a hit man and bump off mom for her insurance money. Levi Lee directs. Concluding the season will be Annex Theatre playwright Glen Berger's Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22, or Our Great Labours, on stage June 1-July 14. In this comedy, Berger examines two obscure, but very serious scientists of the 18th Century, Jacques de Vaucanson and Lazzarro de Spallanzani. Vaucanson spent his life trying to demonstrate the complex and intelligent design of the universe by creating an anatomically correct clockwork duck, while Spallanzani must only have the best and most delicate equipment to study the mating habits of frogs. Allison Narver directs.
Subscription tickets are $125-$80, with special prices for seniors and playgoers 25 and under. For information, call the box office at (206) 547 7500. The Empty Space is on the web at http://www.emptyspace.org.
-- By Christine Ehren