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Theatre Review: Fiction

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Can a writer ever really tell the absolute truth? I mean, working with words is so subjective . . . especially when you’re writing a novel, or a play. Do the lies begin when you lift the pen? And can someone learn to write at college? In this play, even the writing teacher isn’t sure.

“This class is called the Advanced Fiction Workshop. That name is a lie. I cannot teach you to write. Or more to the point, I can only teach you to write like me. And believe me, you don’t want to do that."

Those bitter words were spoken by a writer whose life is soon shattered by a medical diagnosis. Her headaches are the result of a brain tumor. She has a few weeks left. Being a writer, she reacts by wishing the doctor had at least informed her with better sentences.

“Three weeks, three years. What is the appeal here? I’d like them to do it in, say, meals. ‘You have at least 20 really good dinners left.’ Or, ‘You have endured your last public radio pledge week. Congratulations!’”

She likes to complain, doesn’t she? And she’s good at it. Soon she’s in a major dispute with her husband, another novelist, when she realizes that he’s had an affair. But that’s just the beginning of the complications in this moody drama. It’s the antithesis of romance, it’s all about secret relationships – not all of them sexual -- and hidden agendas. This clever production by Capital Stage is beautifully sustained by strong performances. Local professionals Stephanie Gularte, Janis Stevens and Eric Wheeler keep you guessing, and on the edge of your seat, to the last. And keep in mind, the title of the play is “Fiction.”

"Fiction" plays at Capital Stage on the Delta King Riverboat in Old Sacramento through February 28th.
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