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The Empty Room and Other Plays

(Wildcliff Theatre, New Rochelle, NY, 1986)

This series of one-act plays has a very interesting history, as does the theatre where it had its premier on October 15, 1986. Back in 1983 or so, the Wildcliff was a deteriorating old mansion located in Westchester County. Somehow, a rising young playwright named Joe Cacaci decided to turn this landmark-to-be into a playhouse. It would be a showcase of some of the leading playwrights like David Mamet and Elaine May, as well as being a place where new writers could get their start. In 1984, the New York Times had an article about the impending premiere of "several plays by Shel Silverstein" who, the article later documented, would be the writer-in-residence at the Wildcliff.

Of course, things never run so smoothly. Other articles would appear in the next two years documenting how the Wildcliff was very slow in being renovated. Or that plays were being workshopped and read, but wouldn't be ready to be performed. This included the Silverstein short play "The Prompter" along with others by Mamet, May, and the spearheader, Joe Cacaci. Finally, after much delay, the Wildcliff opened in late 1986.

"The Empty Room and Other Plays" was the inaugural play for the Wildcliff. Other than that, I know absolutely nothing about this set. I don't even know what happened to the arrangement that Silverstein would be writer-in-residence, although if I have to propose a theory, I'd bet that the constant delays--along with Silverstein's penchant for doing a million other things--probably turned him off of the deal a bit. But if anyone knows differently, by all means, correct me.

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