You may not know of him -- I certainly did not -- but the Guthrie Theater is doing a salute to him. Christopher Hampton is a British playwright/screenwriter (Dangerous Liasons, Atonement), and I will be seeing three of his plays within a three week period. We saw the first one, Tales from Hollywood, Sunday night, followed in the next week and a half by Appromattox and Embers.
Tales from Hollywood will not be, in my opinion at least, a big crowd-pleaser but seems to be a big critic-pleaser. It takes place in the late-'30s to early '50s, focusing on writers escaping from Nazi Germany and trying somehow, through language and cultural barriers, to becoming Hollywood screenwriters. I have a definite interest in that era -- where the average theater-goer may not -- but still had a hard time getting into this complex story. The technical effects of this production help keep your attention on the characters. The second act makes you glad you sat through the talky first act, but I'm not sure that everybody hung around for the second act.