He’s better known as the ambitious ad executive Pete Campbell. Others know him as Angel’s son, who grew up way too fast. Now, Vincent Kartheiser is taking a new journey…helping to create a brand new play. He’s currently at the San Jose Repertory Company in the play Death of the Novel. More after the jump…..

I visited the San Jose Rep last Sunday to see a preview performance of the play. This is not a review of the play itself because it’s still undergoing revisions.

It’s about Sebastian Justice, a young author who wrote a best-seller about 9/11. He hasn’t left his apartment in two years and his publisher sent a shrink to get him out. So far, it hasn’t worked. It’s mostly one-sided as Sebastian rants on everything from John McEnroe to global warming.

Then his friend Philip talks about a fantastic girl he just met. She’s called Sheba, an Arab beauty who catches Sebastian’s eye. She has quite a story of her own that may be too good to be true. Sebastian knows this and yet he’s drawn to her. They both go on a journey that ends unexpected for both.

Kartheiser played Sebastian so he isn’t likeable, even if his rants and cynical view may be hiding a lot of pain. That really changes in the second half when Sebastian and Sheba got a lot closer. It’s a great role for him, and should please his fans from Mad Men and Angel.

The Sunday matinee included a post-play discussion with the cast and playwright. They got good feedback from the audience, especially what the play is trying to say about the power of imagination (good and bad), how 9/11 still haunts us, and about getting and losing love. During the discussion, Kartheiser thought his character was defensive but not really delusional. That changes in the second half, when Sebastian and Sheba lose themselves in their own special world.

Death of the Novel has started its official run and will continue through the 22nd. You can order tickets online at www.sjrep.com

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