Can a garrulous playwright with SSA (severe sexual addiction) save a historic artists’ co-op?
Duberstein (The Mt. Monadnock Blues, 2003, etc.) uses a man of questionable appeal to deliver a plea for the value of high art, in this story of the Bozarts, aka the Hotel des Beaux-Art, aka the Blaisdell Street Artists Cooperative, in Canterbury, Mass. That mouthpiece is Stanley Noseworthy, the last remaining creative tenant and defender of a building (loaned by CIT, the Canterbury Institute of Technology) that has been a living monument to the rise and fall of the liberal-arts ideal in the U.S. in the latter part of the 20th century. Noseworthy is an outspoken, sexist monomaniac who conceals crumbs of integrity and commitment under his pathetic, rather charmless exterior. The arrival of a new tenant at the Bozarts, lovely young Rose Gately, sets the action, as Stanley identifies her as “my next true love,” thereby upsetting his “current true love,” Nina, who very soon kicks him out. One of the founding 12 creative tenants of the Bozarts in 1979, Stanley now comes to call the place home as well as office. Rose, however, has little interest in him, preferring a sculptor, Arnold Clapperberg. Stanley begins a period of crisis and withdrawal, but when his mother dies, he chooses not to use her legacy to liberate himself from the Bozarts, but rather to fight for the building that CIT may be trying to reclaim and that soon houses only one artist—Stanley himself. Having persuaded journalist Lucy Young to write an article about the place, the text of which is spliced throughout the narrative, Stanley is last seen condemning the debased new culture, still thinking of women, and hoping.
Slight and self-absorbed, but with a kernel of relevance.