Barbara Lebow, author of A Shayna Maidel, will premiere her newest play, The Empress of Eden, at Seattle's Empty Space Theatre. The show started previews Feb. 26 for an opening March 3 and a run through March 27. Based on a real-life series of events that took place in the 1930's, Empress follows German naturalist Friedrich and his loving companion Gertrud to the Isla Maria in the Galapagos chain. They are set to create a philosophical paradise, when, in 1932, an Austrian baroness, brandishing a pistol and a whip and leading a bevy of young men, arrives on the same island. The two distinctly opposite parties argue, and mysteries arise -- who shot the baroness' follower? Where did she and one of her men disappear to? How did the naturalist die a few short months later?
Other plays by Lebow include The Left Hand Singing, The Adventures of Homer McGundy and Tiny Tim is Dead. She'll have another world premiere, Lurleen, opening at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival March 26.
Empty Space artistic associate Rod Ceballos (Space's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, What the Butler Saw) directs John Bolgar (Ludwig), Daniel J. Chercover (Timoteo), JoAnn Johnson (Elspeth, the baroness), Mikel MacDonald (Friedrich), Stephanie Shine (Gertrud) and Jeffrey L. Treadwell (Hobbs).
Designing Eden are Carol Wolfe Clay (sets), Nanette Acosta (costumes), Timothy Wratten (lighting) and Eric Chappelle (sound).
Tickets are $25-$16 and available by calling (206) 547-7500 or by visiting the Empty Space website at http://www.emptyspace.org.
-- By Christine Ehren