AS TIME GOES BY: The nearly three-hour Pera Palas, recently at Off-Broadway's McGinn/Cazale Theatre, spanned 70 years of Turkish history, filtering it through three generations of one dysfunctional family (yes, Turkey has 'em, too). Sinan Unel named his play after the legendary Istanbul hotel which inspired Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and Rick's American Cafe in Casablanca -- both, you'll recall, important cinematic stops for Ingrid Bergman. . . . A four-hour Oedipus, directed and newly adapted by Dare Clubb, lifts off this month at CSC under the aegis of the Blue Light Theatre Company. Billy Crudup and Oscar winner Frances McDormand co-star. . . . At one point recently, three out of four Wallachs were appearing on the New York -- in three different plays: Eli Wallach could be found in Visiting Mr. Green at the Union Square Theatre, wife Anne Jackson in Mr. Peters' Connections at the Signature Theatre, and their daughter, Roberta Wallach in "It's Only Play, It Doesn't Hurt" at Theatre for the New City. . . The 82-year-old Eli has since relinquished his title role to the grayer but younger Hal Linden -- and will rest a while on his laurels. There have been plenty of those -- nominations for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, plus the first annual Edith Oliver Award for Excellence Off-Broadway -- and if his Mr. Green visits ever London, he'll likely grab an Olivier to go with his Oliver. TWENTY YEARS LATER AND STILL CRISP: On the 20th anniversary of An Evening with Quentin Crisp Off-Broadway, The Naked Civil Servant himself presented another one -- this time at the Grove Street Playhouse. . . . The comic riff Richard Greenberg was inspired to write by his real-life friendship/rivalry with fellow playwright Peter Hedges -- Hurrah at Last -- was greeted with raves and waves of laughter at its South Coast Rep premiere. Peter Frechette plays the Greenberg facsimile -- as its his wont (The Extra Man, Eastern Standard, et al) -- and the play will get to New York when in May 1999 at the Laura Pels Theatre . . . The Dying Gaul, Craig Lucas's critically cheered look at hypocritical Hollywood, will live again at the Vineyard Theatre this month. It got short shrift there last season because a back injury forced Cotter Smith out of the show and Tony Goldwyn in. Tim Hopper and Linda Edmond, cast here as romantic rivals, were Romeo and Juliet a decade back. . . . It'll be Treat Williams -- not Mandy Patinkin, as previously announced (by Patinkin) -- who'll play Manuel the Portugese fisherman when Frederick Freyer and Patrick Cook's musicalized Captains Courageous finally sets sail in January at Manhattan Theatre Club. That particular part proved to be Oscar bait for Spencer Tracy 60 years ago. . . . Michael Emerson, who went West with the Wilde role he originated, completed Gross Indecency gigs in San Francisco and Los Angeles and has returned to the star spot he started with at Off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre.
-- By Harry Haun