The Empty Space, a Bakersfield’s hot-spot for live entertainment, could be described as having one of the most ironic names in theatre. Live dramas, improvisational comedy and a gallery featuring local artists offer something new and exciting to see each week at 706 Oak St.
Currently, fans of local theatre can catch the funny and emotional performance of “Crimes of the Heart. It’s a story about the reunion of three sisters facing dramatically different issues. Babe has just shot her husband. Oldest sister Lenny takes care of their grandfather and is turning into an old maid, while Meg has been chasing her dreams in Hollywood. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley and directed by Bob Kempf, “Crimes of the Heart” premiered last week with more performances scheduled for April 19, 20, 26 and 27. Show starts at 8 p.m. with one afternoon performance this Sunday, April 21 at 2 p.m.
The Bakersfield Californian recently published a review of “Crimes of the Heart” in the paper’s Arts & Entertainment section. Contributing writer Camille Gavin wrote that “Kempf’s “first-rate cast did a superb job of bringing to life Henley’s well-written lines. ”
Also now playing is “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead,” written by Burt V. Royal and directed by Michael Pawloski. Charlie Brown is all grown up and his innocent nature is now challenged by drug use, suicide and sexual identity issues that dog his time in high school. This is a late night show running Fridays and Saturdays, now through April 27. Show starts at 11 p.m.
On the lighter side, if you’re looking for quick laughs, Major League Improv is on stage every Saturday evening at 6 p.m. The Empty Space’s resident improv team of goof balls provide family friendly entertainment, often using suggestions from the audience.
Residents can also visit The Empty Space Art Gallery for fine art with a local flare. Now through April 27 the gallery is displaying “Kreative Allusions” by artist John Kirkbey. The exhibit is available for viewing Fridays and Saturdays, from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and by appointment.
Shows at The Empty Space are free but donations are requested to support the not-for-profit theatre. Performers, directors and organizers volunteer their time to keep the arts alive in Bakersfield.
The Empty Space may want to consider changing their name to The Full Space. Brian Sivesind, executive director at The Empty Space says stand-up comedians, magicians, hypnotists and live music all have a place on the small stage.
“Our mission is to provide quality live theatre to the community of Bakersfield,” Sivesind said in an e-mail. “We create an opportunity for local actors, directors and technicians to work in a creative environment that allows them to express themselves to continue to study and improve their craft.”
For more info visit www.esonline.org.