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THEATER

Last Chance

October 31, 2002|Sean Mitchell

Imaginary Friends -- There may be no business like show business, but neither is there any feud like a literary feud, and Nora Ephron, writing her first play, has convincingly made one into the other. "Imaginary Friends," her dramatization of the parallel and conflicting lives of Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy, is a feast of wit and language drawn from the words of her famous protagonists but smartly shaped into a serious comedy with music (a handful of songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia) that grows into a hair-pulling duel even Don King could appreciate. In this opening that is headed to Broadway in December, Swoosie Kurtz plays the contentious playwright-memoirist Hellman, and Cherry Jones is the formidable critic and novelist McCarthy. Ephron seizes upon McCarthy's denouncing Hellman as a liar on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1980 and works backward, filling in their stories from a vantage point beyond the grave.

-- Sean Mitchell

Ends Sunday at the Globe Theatres' Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park, San Diego. (619) 239-2255.

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