– San Francisco Chronicle (May 1, 2016)
Let’s start near the beginning, on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the freezing cold. It was tough to stay warm in the winters, but the heat from the woodstoves and the blankets on the seats certainly helped the audience members, who huddled together and braved the elements in the name of Peninsula Players Theater, an outdoor theater in Door County, Wis. Out on that stage, husband and wife John and Pamela Gaye Walker launched their careers in the theater. It was essentially right out of college, where they met at Notre Dame; in 2016, all these years later, John works as a film producer (he produced the Pixar film “The Incredibles”), and Pamela works as an actress. They live in a house in Berkeley overlooking the bay, but back then, they were just two kids, figuring out how to pay the bills by making theater.
The show — which debuts Friday, May 6, at Z Below Theater—is something they were drawn to from the first reading of the script. When Pam read it out loud up in the study of their home with a different actor, John’s ears perked up. “I kept looking at him and laughing and crying, and thinking, this is so enjoyable,” Pam says. “This is us.” Read more here.
– The Mercury News (May 9, 2016)
John Walker and his wife first became smitten onstage, falling in love with each other and with the world of the theater. The Berkeley couple starred in almost 40
shows together before he pursued a career as a stage and then film producer, which led him to becoming a honcho at Pixar. Now an executive producer, he has been a force behind such
blockbuster movies as "The Incredibles," "The Iron Giant" and "Tomorrowland."
But he never lost his yen for the theat-uh. And now he and his other half, Pamela Gaye Walker, are returning to the spotlight for the first time in 20 years to star in "The Empty Nesters," a new play about a couple who take their last child to college and then embark on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Directed by the estimable Richard Seyd, this two-person show runs through June 11 at San Francisco's Z Below. Read more here.
– SF Weekly (May 13, 2016)
When Paul Bowles writes about couples whose marriages are in trouble, he sends them abroad for the unraveling. In Garret Jon Groenveld’s play The Empty Nesters, he sends Frances and Greg to the Grand Canyon. This vacation — along with their outfits and arguments — signals their milieu: the American suburb. Mortgage payments there buzz in the ear like so many frustrated mosquitos. At best, they are indifferent to their careers. But duty-bound, they work to afford a house and to pay for the education of their two college-age kids. Read more here.
– SF Examiner (May 17, 2016)
A middle-aged couple on the brink, figuratively and literally, light up “The Empty Nesters,” a funny, warm and easy-to-relate-to play onstage at Z Space.
The fact that a real-life husband and wife play the couple in Garret Jon Groenveld’s three-scene, one-act dramedy adds to the appeal of the piece, which premiered last year presented by the San Francisco new work incubator, PlayGround. Read more here.
– Theaterworld (May, 2016)
Garret Jon Groenveld’s prize winning two-hander The Empty Nesters returns to the Bay Area almost a year to the day after its first outing at the Thick House to another intimate venue the Z Space Below. This time around they have kept the same superb actors and brought aboard a new director and professional production crew to gussy up the staging. Read more here.
– Talkin Broadway (May, 2016)
Greg and Frances are in real trouble—at least from Frances's point of view. So in what seems like a subconscious attempt at ritual, she drags Greg along to visit Skywalk, an attraction at the Grand Canyon where one can stroll along a glass walkway cantilevered out from the canyon well so your view is 3000 feet straight down. After all, when your life as you know it is in real peril (the show isn't five minutes old before Frances tells Greg she's "thinking about" leaving him), perhaps experiencing a few moments of true terror despite being perfectly safe is just what the doctor ordered. Read more here.
– KALW Public Radio (May 4, 2016)
Actors John Walker and Pamela Gaye Walker stop by to discuss the world premiere of ‘The Empty Nesters’ at Z Below in San Francisco. Listen here.
– KTVU/FOX2 (May, 2016)
Interview with John and Pamela Gaye Walker Watch here.
– Theatre Eddys (May 13, 2016)
She: “We’re going to have to start to have grown-up conversations.”
He: “About what?”
She: “Grown up things.”
He: “Then let’s talk.”
She: “About what.”
He: “I don’t know.”
Such back-and-forth, circle exchanges often make the interactions of wife Frannie and husband Greg sound like scenes from a marital version of Sartre’s No Exit. Read more here.
– TheaterDogs (May 21, 2015)
A marriage heads over a cliff, literally, in Garret Jon Groenveld’s The Empty Nesters, a co-production of PlayGround and Virago Theatre Company and part of PlayGround’s 19th annual Festival of New Works.
Luckily, the cliff in question is on the western rim of the Grand Canyon, and there happens to be a popular tourist spot called Skywalk that allows visitors to make a u-shaped jaunt on a glass walkway, with the canyon floor more than 3,000 feet below them. Read more here.