Magazine article Stage Directions

Over the Top

Magazine article Stage Directions

Over the Top

Article excerpt

Over The Top

Characters and situations beyond the norm highlight this month's new works.

Sometimes less is more. In this month's selection of recently released scripts, however, more is more. While diverse in subject matter and character, these well-written plays also share an over-the-top quality that commands attention.

The central character of Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour is John Pace Seavering, a driven young publisher at the start of his career in 1919. Faced with limited finances, he must choose between publishing the memoirs of his lover or an unwieldy novel by his friend, whose marriage to an heiress depends on the success of his book. Meanwhile, Seavering's high-strung assistant is contending with a strange machine magically spitting out reams of paper that provide published biographical information from the future, revealing the fates of all the characters. Despite some bumps in the futuristic second act, The Violet Hour is a smart, superbly written play, which recently had a troubled Broadway premiere due to some unexpected casting changes. It doesn't take a time-travel device to predict that, like Greenberg's other plays, this one will have a long life in regional and community theater. Three males, two females. [ISBN 0-571-211844, $14, Faber and Faber]

On the surface, Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize, is a tale about a man who, as a teenager, discovers he likes dressing up as a woman. …

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