All That Jazz
BY Ross von Metzke
February 20 2009 1:00 AM ET
At an hour and 50
The Jazz Age
teeters just around that length of a play in need of some sort
of intermission -- just when the "mad dash for the
bathroom" pangs sweep over your body, the play comes to a
screeching halt. And it's that sort of frantic energy that
makes Allan Knee's high-pitched piece such a success (thanks,
in large part, to director Michael Matthews's quick pacing and
the in-your-face performances of a trio of able actors).
The story of authors
Ernest Hemingway (Jeremy Gabriel) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Luke
MacFarlane of TV's
Brothers & Sisters
) and their unusual, codependent -- and, at turns,
bordering on sexual -- relationship takes the audience on a
fast-paced ride through the highs and lows of the Jazz Age, a
period from 1918 to 1929 when Fitzgerald's career flourished,
then fell apart, and Hemingway clawed his way from relative
obscurity to great American author.
The pair make for an
odd couple -- Hemingway, masculine and secure; Fitzgerald, at
times euphoric and childlike, but often crippled by a lifelong
battle with alcoholism and an overwhelming need to top his
life's great work,
The Great Gatsby.
Along for the ride is
their female foil, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (Heather Prete)
-- platinum blond, oozing sexuality -- the love of
Scott's life, he says, though the two spend the bulk of the
play building each other up just to rip it right back down
fascination is with Hemingway. The two box, drink, talk
literature -- they even compare dick sizes in one of the play's
more heated moments. They can't be together, but they can't
seem to stay apart for long. They are the real loves of each
other's lives, though -- at least in
The Jazz Age
-- for the most part, it's strictly platonic.
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