Wednesday, Mar 26 2014 04:17 PM

Empty takes turn for the wacky

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    By Photo by Michelle Guerrero

    Lois (Ariane Sarzotti, right) reconsiders going over Niagara Falls in a barrel after talking with kindred spirit Cass (Kayleigh Peaker) in a scene from "Wonder of the World," opening Friday at The Empty Space.

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    By Photo by Michelle Guerrero

    Kip (Chris Burzlaff) hopes to win his wife, Cass (Kayleigh Peaker), back with the help of Janie (Guinevere Park Hall Dethlefson), a marriage counselor who moonlights as a clown, in "Wonder of the World," opening Friday at The Empty Space.

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    By Photo by Michelle Guerrero

    A helicopter pilot with a fear of heights, played by Guinevere Park Hall Dethlefson, takes Cass (Kayleigh Peaker) and her pal Lois (Ariane Sarzotti) for a ride in "Wonder of the World," opening Friday at The Empty Space.

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BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor sdias@bakersfield.com

What do you get when you combine a clown, a pickle barrel headed over Niagara Falls, a husband with a secret and a woman in search of adventure? That's "Wonder of the World,"the new comedy opening Friday at The Empty Space.

That wackiness is what director Kristina Saldana said originally drew her to the show.

Related Info

'Wonder of the World'

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: The Empty Space, 706 Oak St.

Admission: $15; $10 students and seniors

Information: 327-7529 or esonline.org

"David Lindsay-Abaire is a great absurdist writer. He wrote these really great comedies, about things that could never happen but the way he portrays it seems really natural. I like the way he makes it relatable but it's really absurd."

Absurdity is clear even in the synopsis: a naive woman (played by Kayleigh Peaker) sets off on her own adventure after discovering the weird secret her husband (Chris Burzlaff) has been keeping from her.

"It wasn't so much the secret; it's that he had one, that he knew everything about her."

In search of fun and self-discovery, she heads to Niagara Falls, where she meets Lois (Araine Sarzotti), who's decided to go over the falls in a pickle barrel after her own marriage fell apart.

This play marks Sarzotti's return to the theater she was first involved with in 2003.

"Ariane was an original Empty Spacer. It's good to have her back."

The women run into a crew of oddballs: Captain Mike (Matthew Borton), a widower sweet on Cass, and an older pair of detectives posing as newlyweds, played by Barbara Gagnon and Jared Cantrell.

Rounding out the cast is Guinevere Park-Hall Dethlefson, whom Saldana said shines in one of her favorite scenes, which involves the actress playing three waitresses in three different locations.

"It's sort of the magic of theater. Theatrically it's fun."

(The actress also plays a marriage therapist who moonlights as a clown, a helicopter pilot afraid of heights and a bald woman.)

Without giving anything else away, the show follows Cass as she searches for answers and adventure, which also appealed to the director.

"I do love the whole journey of self-discovery, that she has this list of hundreds of things (she wants to do). I've never personally made a bucket list."

Saldana has more to say about traveling than to-do lists. She's already crossed off New York and Chicago as must-see spots and has a few more destinations in mind.

"I would love to go to Europe and see all of Europe. The Grand Canyon, all the varied cliched places, but people want to see them for a reason."

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