Blogcritics Magazine is impressed with “The Jazz Age”
Another great review of “The Jazz Age” shows up on the internet. They just keep rolling in! :) Hopefully, Luke, Jeremy and Heather is reading all of this great coverage! :) :) :)
Source: Blogcritics Magazine
Theater Review (LA): The Jazz Age by Allan Knee at the Blank Theatre
Written by Robert Machray
Published February 25, 2009
Part of StageMage
I continue to be impressed by the work and commitment of The Blank Theatre. The Blank, under the impressive leadership of Daniel Hemming, is committed to exploring and producing new works for the theater. The productions are not always perfect, nor should they aim to be, but more often than not the company produces award-winning productions that give their audience something to think about, and feel about. The current production, The Jazz Age, is no exception. The play, written by Alan Knee, explores the sexy, troubled, intense relationship of American icons, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
We find Fitzgerald, a hyperkinetic rich boy, wooing the Southern beauty Zelda Sayre, later Zelda Fitzgerald, a wild child if there ever was one, and later dubbed by her husband “the first American Flapper.” Theirs was a relationship that knew no bounds and exemplified the idea of the partying couple in the Jazz Age. (The term was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald to describe the period after World War I and through the Roaring Twenties up to the Great Depression). Along with other expatriates, they formed an American literary group living in Paris.
The Fitzgeralds met Earnest Hemingway there and started a lifelong friendship which was as troubled as it was deep. In the play it is suggested that behind Scott and Ernest’s intense relationship was an undercurrent of homoeroticism. Hemingway turned on Fitzgerald by his blunt words and masculine presence. In turn he was attracted to Fitzgerald because of Fitzgerald’s delicacy and poetic nature. In the course of the play these tendencies are explored. Even Zelda suspects that there was more to their relationship than met the eye. She even tries to seduce Hemingway.
The play is beautifully written, but is so intense you long for a little comic relief. What we get is one dramatic scene after another. Perhaps the playwright, realizing he was trying to cover three immensely interesting and iconic lives, didn’t feel there was much room for comedy. Even the lighter moments, such as Hemingway teaching Fitzgerald to dance, are laced with sexual tension. Both men were devotedly heterosexual but were ridden with insecurities about their own manhood.
The acting, by Jeremy Gabriel as Fitzgerald and Luke Macfarlane as Hemingway, is first-rate. Heather Prete, in the underwritten role of Zelda, convincingly shows us Zelda’s descent into madness. Michael Mathews, the director, is to be praised for not letting the tension subside and for getting such great performances from his actors. Before and during the show we are treated to music by Grammy winner Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys.
The Jazz Age plays at The Blank Theatre until March 22, with extensions likely.