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Carved in Stone 

Four famous, dead, gay writers stage a hilarious catfight when a new young ghost arrives in their midst

Wednesday, Aug 14 2002
In a nut-colored penthouse, with four clocks set to Happy Hour, lives a quartet of queer ghosts: Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Quentin Crisp. An obscure, young, straight writer wanders into this bitches' brew after getting hit by a train. They all know his name -- Gryphon Tott -- and he doesn't understand why. "You can drop the act, sugar," says Capote. "You're an icon." It seems that Tott has joined the ranks of the famous, gay, drunk, and dead because of a homoerotic manuscript he left half-finished on his laptop. Bickering over his book ensues, and the best part of Jeffrey Hartgraves' new play is not the way the actors capture four legendary personalities -- which is impossible -- but the pure energy of the catfights. "I'd give him a piece of my mind!" says Capote, in some context or another, and Wilde retorts: "Oh, he serves it often. It's a regular gray-matter buffet." P.A. Cooley looks terrifically like Capote in a pair of round glasses and a suit. Leon Acord has some of Crisp's manner but none of his voice; Hartgraves himself is amusingly depressed as Williams, but not delicate enough; and Matt Weimer looks less like Oscar Wilde than Meg Tilly. But the show is hilarious. This may be the best thing John Fisher has directed in years. The play moves at a rude, sure-footed clip, and it's packed with witticisms, written by Hartgraves, that are downright lapidary.


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