The Empty Nesters rings true at the Thick House

The Empty Nesters begins at Skywalk of the Grand Canyon

THE EMPTY NESTERS: Comedy/Drama by Garret Jon Groenveld and directed by Amy Glazer. Empty Nester Productions in association with PlayGround and Virago Theatre Company. Thick House Theatre, 1695 18th St., San Francisco, CA  (415) 401-8081 May 18 –June 14, 2025.   WORLD PREMIERE

The Empty Nesters rings true at the Thick House  Rating: ★★★★☆

During the initial scene of Garret Jon Groenveld’s tightly written two hander ordinary conversation between a husband and wife standing in line to the cantilevered Grand Canyon Skywalk brings laughter to the audience.  Then with the off-handed remark to husband Greg (John Walker) by the wife Frances (Pamela Gaye Walker), “I’m thinking of leaving you”, the course is set for the remainder of this 75 minute without intermission play that will surely be produced by community theatres across the country. The subject matter is universal and has often been depicted on the stage, in movies and on TV: What takes place when an apparently successful marriage is challenged after the children have departed and the couple is living in an “empty nest.”

Groenveld does not offer any new insights into causes of interpersonal problems that confront married couples but with his mastery of dialog and play construction he has created a believable microcosm with universal truisms. Within that framework his two characters have distinctive idiosyncrasies that allow the audience to identify with one or both. All the confrontations are civil, although with a touch of animosity that is circumscribed by understanding.

Throughout the evening the seriousness is modified by naturalistic humor found both in what is done as well as being said. The simple writing of postcards leads to a mention of the proverbial Christmas letter that recipients rarely read. The suggestive suggestion by Greg that they “take a nap” is rebuffed by Frances who just wishes to nap.

The Walkers are a real life married couple with extensive theatrical experience who bring the characters to life under Amy Glazer’s tight direction

As the male/female differences are elucidated the obvious love and dependence between the two still lingers and Groenveld has written a scene with minimal dialog that fortifies their bond giving a hopeful ending to the evening. Recommended as “a should see production.”

CAST: Frances (Pamela Gaye Walker); Greg (John Walker).

ARTISTIC CAST: Lighting Designer, Colin Johnson; Sound Designer, Josh Senick; Costume Designer, Jocelyn Leiser Herndon; Production Manager, Eli Marrs; Properties Artisan, Amy Crumpacker; Production Assistant, Marcus Marotto; Stage Manager, Gary Quinn.

 Kedar K. Adour, MD

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