Have you been acquainted with a Mr. Elyot Vionnet?
You may not think so, but he’s actually someone we have all experienced at one time or another. For instance, remember the time when that woman with the cell phone and the couture shopping bags slammed right into you on the sidewalk and then gave you a scowl that seemed to accuse you of being at fault? Remember your not-so-buried desire to see her get mowed down by a bus as she crossed the street? That desire was Elyot Vionnet talking to you.
In I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey, playwright, screenwriter, and humorist Paul Rudnick (“I Hate Hamlet,” “In & Out,” “Jeffrey”) draws portraits of some of the larger-than-life characters he’s known over the years working in Hollywood and New York. But perhaps the most tantalizing character of all is the fictional Elyot Vionnet, whose diary entries are interspersed throughout the book. Elyot comes from Rudnick’s darker, wayward impulses.
When Paul was in Studio 360 last week, we got him to read from that “most deeply intimate and personal diary of one Elyot Vionett” – and he couldn’t help but do so in-character:
In Elyot, he has, perhaps, his greatest character yet. Unless you count Rudnick himself.
– Jordan Sayle