Thursday, August 16, 2007

PN 1923.45 LS01 V. 2 (The Book Play)

Penned by Bixby Elliot (really enjoyed his Blueprint at SPF recently) and featuring Everett Quinton, I was expecting this comedy to be one of the highlights of the Fringe Festival. Unfortunately, it needs work, and only occasionally demonstrates how funny and touching it could be after some sleeves are rolled back up. The play has an unusual structure, alternating between the romantic interests of a gay man in 1981 and of a bookish woman in 1951 (the connecting tissue is that each works as the rare books librarian in the same sub-basement, thirty years apart) but the bifurcation doesn't pay any comic dividends until near the end of the play. (The scene where it does pay, however, hits the jackpot.) More seriously idling the play too long in neutral is yet another set of alternated scenes (monologues, actually) in which Everett Quinton, as a gay activist, holds forth in queer manifesto mode. I see the thematic importance of this, but the monologues don't build from one to another: generally, once you've seen the first one you've seen them all. Additionally, the male librarian's story becomes unclear at the eleventh hour - I thought I understood the specifics of his issues with his boyfriend, and then they went for another round of fighting that made me not like or understand either of them. And yet, with all that said, it is clear that there is a worthwhile, potentially moving play here struggling to make itself known that touches on shame and the constant (but constantly changing) danger of not making oneself known to the world.

Also blogged by: [Aaron]

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