With a wink toward what, perhaps, was a simpler age,
Victor L. Cahn’s ROSES IN DECEMBER exalts the timeless charm and
intimacy of letter writing within this, our modern, techno-driven today.
Part mystery, part research, part business, part pleasure, but all-engaging,
this latest addition to the small family of plays in letters features some
of the most lovely language the theatergoer is likely to experience outside
of a revival of Shakespeare or the like.
The ROSES IN DECEMBER story starts simply enough,
as Carolyn, nearly perfectly portrayed by the charming Keira Naughton,
repeatedly implores reclusive author Joel Gordon, via letter, to attend an
upcoming weekend of 35th year college reunion activities. Mr.
Gordon, played by James Naughton in his subtly omnipresent way, repeatedly
refuses to attend, and the pen-pal relationship between these strangers
moves into more personal territory.
As Carolyn uses every tactic possible, in her
correspondence, to win an audience with the infamous Joel Gordon, she spends
more and more time researching her elusive idol. What she learns of him is
shared with the audience through her letters, and it is here that we
discover that both of her parents were college friends of the then
up-and-coming author. She learns this, and so much more, and we are there
for every new tidbit.
As familiarity builds, formality slowly wanes between the
correspondents. This fact is enunciated most clearly in the subsequent
letters, and such honesty, or is it reality, keeps ROSES IN DECEMBER
feeling authentic. There is nothing implausible in the text. In fact, the
author does a great service by not bending to popular notions of "fate" and
the like that take so many promising works way off course.
Perhaps a bit rushed in act two, but altogether
satisfactory, ROSES IN DECEMBER is a wordsmith’s delight. It is the
kind of nuts and bolts of theater that reminds us all that fancy footwork,
elaborate sets and special effects need not always apply.
- Kessa De Santis -