Friday, November 28, 2008

A Friend's Playwriting Debut

Monday night, after swinging by the NYC premiere of “Australia,” I headed down to the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea for the Hyperion Theater Project’s Fall One Act Festival.

My playwriting friend Diana headlined the series of vignettes with “The Bookstore,” a compelling, witty take on the passions and insecurities that go along with being a writer.

Inspired by Diana’s brief stint working for Barnes and Noble, “The Bookstore” introduces us to book clerk Matt (Nate Weisband) and first-time author Julianne (Lori Sommer). When no one shows up for Julianne’s signing, Matt tries to soften the blow of disappointment, offering to buy all 75 copies of her memoir.

Literary Aspirations: Matt (Nate Weisband) and Julianne (Lori Sommer) muse about the writing process in Diana Rissetto's "The Bookstore"

He distracts her with anecdotes about his worklife, from the old lady who calls the store weekly for personal advice to staffers recommending The Bible with a placard reading “Now a hit film!” when “The Passion of the Christ” came out – moments Diana experienced herself at Barnes & Noble.

Matt eventually reveals that he was once a writer with dreams of getting published, until his day job made him question whether he could ever join the ranks of legendary authors like C.S. Lewis.

Suddenly the roles are reversed, as Julianne becomes the cheerleader, encouraging Matt not to give up on his literary ambitions. Both Weisband and Sommer deliver heartfelt performances, beautifully directed by Nina Ashe.

“The Bookstore” does a great job of portraying with intelligence and honesty what it means to be a writer. With crisp dialogue and engaging story, Diana’s playwriting debut was a home run. I’m already looking forward to her next production.


DianaGolightly said...

This made me smile!

I was so upset that I had to miss this, but loved your recap.

Thank you, Melissa!!!!

Cindy said...

Great review. The play sounds as if it has all the right elements for a success. Congrats, Diana