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Carved in Stone

In Jeffrey Hartgraves’ comedy, it’s always cocktail hour in the afterlife lounge shared by Truman Capote (Kevin Remington), Quentin Crisp (Leon Acord), Oscar Wilde (Jesse Merlin) and Tennessee Williams (Curt Bonnem). Witty aphorisms fly fast and furious, as each writer tries for the perfect bon mot to top the others. Into this literary hothouse stumbles Gryphon Tott (Levi Damione), who can’t believe he’s dead. He’s further perplexed by the denizens of the lounge because he’s heterosexual. The other writers explain that he’s a gay icon, which has brought him to their cozy setting. They add that the door though which he entered occasionally opens, but the four literary heavy heavyweights have no desire to move on. Judy Garland and Bette Davis (both played by Amanda Abel) make a brief appearance, and leave just as suddenly. William Shakespeare (Alex Egan) stays around for a while longer to much hectoring from the lounge habitués. Tott’s status as a gay icon unfolds slowly — he borrowed background scenery from a gay writer, bringing up the question of plagiarism. The cast is superb under the fast-moving direction of John Pabros Clark, and the pacing and timing are remarkable. Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Tues., 8 p.m.; through Aug. 9, www.carvedinstonetheplay.com. (310) 473-5483.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: June 19. Continues through Sept. 5, 2009


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