The plot line involves four young, would be writers who hire a novelist turned editor turned world crisis correspondent to critique their work and help them grow their writing skills. It's hard to feel sympathetic to these folks. One lives in a 9 room, $800 a month rent controlled apartment on the UWS. Another is the nephew of a well known New Yorker writer who has helped open doors, etc. Lots of easy arts and literary stereotypes.
And it is kind of funny when the magisterial Leonard, Mr. Rickman’s character, dismisses a short story that was six years in the making after reading only to the first semicolon. It is also a pleasure to hear Mr. Rickman pronounce “semicolon” with a pinching nasality that turns a punctuation mark into a symptom of terminal constipation.
But it turns out that the characters in “Seminar,” even the seemingly burnt-out Leonard, are religiously committed to the sacred, endangered art of the written word. And if they seem a tad overhasty in reacting to the works of others, it is only for reasons of dramatic expediency. Ms. Rebeck and the agile director Sam Gold are well aware of the market value on Broadway these days of hustling a comedy on and off the stage in a breezy hundred minutes that needn’t pause for intermission.
It's an OK play, and I thought the last half hour or so was much more engaging than the first 40 or 50 minutes. By then, the wreckage of their first works had been discarded, and the writers were discovering paths that could bring them up to another level. As written, it seems Rickman is only partly engaged in the play, I was thinking about how a Ralph Fiennes or Richard Easton or Simon Russel Beale or John Houseman might have played the role.