Empty Space

706 Oak St
Bakersfield, CA 93304
(661) 327-7529

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You never know what you're gonna get at the Empty Space, and...

5

You never know what you're gonna get at the Empty Space, and I mean that in a good way. This is experimental theater, and they do push the envelope sometimes, and while they occasionally miss the mark, generally speaking they put on a helluva show. The major productions, usually at 8pm on weekend evenings, sometimes a matinee, are well-acted and remarkable for their interpretation on a tight budget. I have enjoyed Angels in America, The Laramie Project, Madea, Bent, several Shakespeare productions...there's a lot of diversity in their presentations.
In addition to the major productions, they have comedy nights and what they call RAT, the house comedy troupe that really does step beyond good taste, unabashedly & without apology. This appeals frequently to a younger audience; this old lady reviewer will pass. But it is very popular so there is definitely an audience. Be warned, it is designed to be disrespectful and often vulgar, so don't go if that offends you.
The seating is very basic. About 100 chairs set up on stepped mesas. No row is longer than about 6 chairs, and there are only 3-5 rows on each wall. It's intimate, and you are right on the stage with the actors. In fact, audiences are often asked to truly avoid noises during the plays, as they reverberate throught the auditorium. Don't go if you have a cold, and God help you if you get a cell phone call during a production.
Finally, they also present great local art in their gallery, both during shows and at other times. Wander through when you go to see the play.
There is a small concession stand that helps raise money for this 501c3 non-profit theater. Not terribly imaginative: some candy bars, sodas, water, but then you're not there for the food.
Technically, they rely solely on donations for the plays, although they'll suggest a donation that is pretty much mandatory. These range from $5 to $15 depending on the play, and for special fundraisers, they'll charge $20. Special events include the annual Vday presentations of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, which is worth the price every single time, and which, by the way, is often then re-donated for breast cancer research or for the Alliance Against Family Violence. I like that the folks who run the Space are generous to other non-profits throughout the year.
What else can I say: highly recommended!

Reviews of Empty Space
5
wlwedd

You never know what you're gonna get at the Empty Space, and I mean that in a good way. This is experimental theater, and they do push the envelope sometimes, and while they occasionally miss the mark, generally speaking they put on a helluva show.

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