The Empty Space in Seattle has three premieres on its 2001-02 plate and they bridge all genres—the campy comedy of a stage adapted The Valley of the Dolls, the dramatic Vera Wilde, which imagines an encounter between playwright Oscar and revolutionary Vera Zasulich, and the one-woman comedy-drama, G-d Doesn't Pay Rent Here. Season 2001-02 is the first chosen by the company's new artistic director Allison Narver.
Pending availability of the rights, Jacqueline Susan's The Valley of the Dolls will be the second entry in the Empty Space's season, running Jan. 4-Feb. 16, 2002, following the Northwest premiere of The Laramie Project (Nov. 9-Dec. 16). Narver will adapt the novel "The Valley of the Dolls" with Burton Curtis and Jason Cannon for the stage. The infamously trashy novel (and film) follows the lives of three young women trying to make it in show business as they are slowly dragged from healthy hopeful lives into an existence dictated by drugs, booze and sex. The Empty Space promises "a musical and hysterical adaptation."
Chris Jeffries' Vera Wilde, the fourth entry in the season, finds two historical personages in a sleazy Paris hotel at the turn of the century. Vera Zasulich went on trial in 1878 for shooting the St. Petersburg chief of police, a story young playwright Oscar Wilde followed quite closely. His play Vera would soon be the biggest flop on Broadway in 1883. Years later, another trial, this one over "gross indecency," has ruined Wilde's career, a story Zasulich, now living in London, follows herself. The two meet explosively as Wilde and the 1800's approach death. Vera Wilde will run April 19-May 18, 2002.
In the tradition of The Vagina Monologues, playwrights Judy Gold and Kate Moira Ryan interviewed more than 80 women on what it means to be a Jewish mother for G-d Doesn't Pay Rent Here, playing May 31 June 30, 2002. From the ultra-Orthodox Hasidim to lesbian rabbis, the Emmy Award-winning comedian Gold examines what Jewish motherhood, her own and others, really is about.
Also set for the season are the West Coast premieres of Kenneth Lonergan's comedy The Waverly Gallery, about an elderly woman struggling to hold on to her Greenwich Village art gallery even as Alzheimer's steals her mind (March 1-30, 2002) and W. David Hancock's The Convention of Cartography, a rumination on the art and poetry of a vagabond folk artist named "Mike" (dates TBA). Subscriptions are $135-$90. The Empty Space Theatre is located at 3509 Fremont North. For tickets, call (206) 547-7500. The Empty Space Theatre is on the web at http://www.emptyspace.org.
— By Christine Ehren