It’s 1919, and Denny, a Princeton graduate not unlike F. Scott Fitzgerald, is browbeating a former classmate, a freshly-launched publisher not unlike Maxwell Perkins (Fitzgerald’s legendary editor), into printing his first novel so that he can win Rosamund, a glamorous, neurotic rich-bitch straight from Zelda. Publisher John is torn between his friend’s ms. and the memoir written by his own secret lover, Jessie, a spectacularly beautiful “tawny nightingale” nightclub sensation not unlike Josephine Baker.
Then scholarly manuscripts mysteriously arrive from the future, analyzing the unfolding events and the witty dueling dialogues from anthropological-historical-structuralist-feminist-postcolonial-Lacanian-whatever perspectives. Act 1 is a wonderfully staged hoot; Act 2 muddles along while characters ponder pages from the future, some of them ominous. You can count on stuffy, ceremonious office-assistant Gidger, expounding hilariously on future grievous losses like the coming demise of the original meaning of “gay,” to restore the energy.
"The Violet Hour," by Richard Greenberg, is directed by Rita Giorni, with Eric Reidmann as Denny, Shawn Law as John, Shanna Allman as Rosamund, Amber Wolfe Wollam as Jessie, and Evan Whitfield as Gidger. It's playing at Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse through Feb 21. $25. Take note: racial epithets; smoking on stage.