Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: The Death of the Novel @ The San Jose Rep

The 2012-2013 show season at the San Jose Repertory Theatre has begun! And what a great show to start it off with!

I attended opening night of The Death of the Novel by Jonathan Marc Feldman and directed by the Rep's Rick Lombardo and for me, it was quite the treat. 

The play is about a young author who has experienced several heartbreaking losses throughout his life. Set shortly post-9/11 (with references within the play) New York, this man, Sebastian Justice, suffers from agoraphobia - he doesn't leave his New York apartment. Despite not leaving, thanks to his long time friend, he is able to meet an exotic and seemingly interesting woman, Sheba. Mixed in with words of sound logical advice (he chooses not to take, stubborn one that he is) from his psychologist, Samantha Cray, the story takes an interesting turn. 

My husband and I talked more about this show than we have over the last handful we've seen together. We're in our thirties and can relate to some of the topics brought up. I for one, felt a strong connection to the feelings Justice discussed as he reflected on the losses he had, one after another. A quote stuck in my head… "a clown car of tragedies". I'm sure many can relate… 

The Set: 
I love the set; design was a sleek furnished New York apartment with stylish modern furniture. Technically speaking - once again the Rep added their flair - the set rotated! Perfect way to bring you into another room. One of the other technical aspects (perhaps more along the lines of the sound department) that stood out for me was when someone opened the sliding glass door to the balcony, you'd hear the sounds of the New York streets below. Light horns honking, people talking, a whispy breeze -- great touches, Rep. They didn't go unnoticed!

The Music:
The music?! Wait this wasn't a musical - however, in a surprising moment, it played a lot like a music video or a montage in the middle of a film or television show. I don't want to give it all way, but it was an interesting touch and got the message across perfectly. 

The Actors:
Saving the best for last! The entire cast consisted of just five actors; and they were all captivating and moving in their own way. Vincent Kartheiser and Vaishnavi Sharma wowed the audience with their energy and outstanding ability to deliver lines upon lines of fast moving dialogue. There was a scene right after intermission that literally had me holding my breath because Sharma was talking so fast!

My husband and I lingered about during the Afters! party in hopes to meet some of the actors in the show. Fangirl confession: I'm a huge Buffy/Angel fan, and Vincent portrayed Angel's son in a couple of seasons. I was determined to meet him and hopefully get a photo. Another fangirl confession: Amy Pietz! I was so excited to find out she was going to be part of this production. Why? Because back in the day, I used to watch Caroline in the City. It was an adorable and hilarious little sitcom in the 90s. Anyway.. silliness aside, I really wanted to meet her too.

We chatted for a bit with an older couple about the show, about the topics of death and our shared enthusiasm for the powerful acting. They noted that often the audience is a little older group, but they've been seeing a change. I agree -- I think the topical shows that The San Jose Repertory are choosing have started to attract new, younger audiences. 

I think the mix of the Hollywood ties (Kartheiser and Pietz) along with the topics explored in this show, a younger crowd would definitely find themselves being entertained. That of course, applies to those that don't normally attend this avenue of entertainment.

Well after a few minutes my inner fangirl was pleased! I got to meet Amy Pietz and Vincent Kartheiser, chat with them a smidge and get some photos. 

Adam (hubby) and I with Amy Pietz
Vincent Kartheiser and me

Now it's your turn - go see the show!

Runs through September 22, 2012


  1. Just a quick note that Vincent Kartheiser is a main character on the show Mad Men!

  2. Saw it. Amazing show. Very jealous that you got a picture with Vince. I couldn't stick around long enough for him to come out.

  3. Great show. Runs a bit long. Script could be tighter. Vincent Kartheiser warmed up to the role eventually. Maybe too much monologue for him? Interesting choice of dramas for SJR!

  4. Finally got to see this tonight. Wow, what a great show. If the rest of the season is going to be like this, the Rep is going to be doing very well.