the Violet Hour
Richard Greenberg’s 2002 play is set on April Fool’s Day, 1919. John Pace Seavering (Thomas Burr) is a young, novice New York publisher who has enough money to only print one book. Will it be the ridiculously massive novel of his former college friend Denis (Jeff Kerr McGivney), who is dating heiress Rosamund Plinth (Elizabeth O’Brick), or the show-business memoir of John’s new girlfriend, a Negro nightclub singer named Jessie Brewster (Angelle Brooks)? As John stalls for time, his stuffy, cantankerous and most assuredly gay office assistant, Gidger (Kyle Colerider-Krugh), tries to deal with a mysterious machine that has just arrived. By Act 1’s end, the two discover the pages it has been spewing out are of book proposals and accompanying manuscripts from the future. They stand appalled and self-consciously naked as they read how their era — and Seavering himself — will be judged by academics not yet born. Director Stuart Rogers brings out all the nuances of this funny yet melancholy fable about decisions and consequences. (It’s also a wicked send-up of our own times, as seen by the disbelieving citizens of 1919.) The likable Burr shows a flair for comic interaction, even if he really isn’t convincing as someone who wants to spend his life publishing books. He gets solid support from the other cast members, especially the over-the-top Colerider-Krugh. Susanne Klein’s costumes neatly evoke the story’s era and Douglas Lowry’s set makes the most of a claustrophobically small stage. Theatre Tribe, 5267 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; thru April 19. (800) 838-3006.—Steven Mikulan
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