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By Phoebe Greyson

It’s always interesting to con


sider the first and last work by a great artist. Neil Simon, recently deceased, wrote 29 plays from 1961 to 2003, the first being “Come Blow Your Horn” and the last, “Rose’s Dilemma” which opened at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York in 2003.

Rose’s Dilemma, unlike many of Simon’s plays, is neither lighthearted nor predominantly comedic, although of course, Simon’s New York wit peppers the fast paced dialogue between Rose, her deceased lover, Walsh, her deceased lover’s ghost-writer, Gavin and her young “assistant”, Arlene.

Widely acknowledged to be inspired by real life characters Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, the play focuses on unacceptable loss and the stubborn refusal to let go of those we love and cannot live without. Set in an expensive, sun-washed beach house in the Hamptons, Rose, an aging writer who has not written anything since the passing of Walsh, the love of her life and a famous writer himself, occupies herself by engaging in pleasant and sometimes not so pleasant repartee with him and by luring him to her bed for creative (and loud) conjugal reunions. Meanwhile, her endlessly accommodating young protégée, Arlene, takes long showers to drown out the sounds of passion emanating from Rose’s bedroom and frets over Rose’s strained finances.

Walsh the ghost, whom Rose admits is more or less her own creation, in an effort to solve her financial difficulties, proposes that she publish the manuscript left unfinished at his death. To this purpose he persuades her to seek the services of a young novelist, Gavin. Writes Ben Brantley of the New York Times, “Gavin and Arlene prove that you don’t have to be old or dead to sling Neil Simon-style zingers as a means of foreplay.”

The play is touching and sweet, funny and sad. It is a poignant and inventive portrayal of the dilemma that faces all of us. When challenged by Arlene as to her refusal to expel Walsh from her life, Rose tells her “if keeping him means losing my sanity, I would consider it a fair exchange…”

Rose’s Dilemma will be presented in the Parish Hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Calle Cardo 6, Wednesday and Thursday, November 14 and 15. Tickets go on sale at 6:45pm each evening, on a first come first serve basis. Doors open at 7pm. Ticket holders must be present at 7pm when the doors open or their ticket may be resold. The Play commences at 7:30pm or earlier if the house is full before that time. Admission is 20 pesos.



“Rose’s Dilemma”

Wed and Thu, Nov 14 and 15, 7:30pm

St. Paul’s Parish Hall

Cardo 6

152 0000

30 pesos




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