The Twentieth-Century Way
The Twentieth-Century Way
The Twentieth-Century Way

The Twentieth-Century Way

  • Publish Date: 2012-11-26
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Tom Jacobson
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The true story of two actors who hired themselves out to the Long Beach Police Department in 1914 to entrap social vagrants in public restrooms. Thirty-one men were arrested, and the ensuing scandal led to an ordinance against oral sodomy in California. Tom Jacobson's exceptional THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY WAY ... is meta-theatre - dense and accurate and mysterious. While obviously influenced by Genet and Stoppard - the costuming metaphor will remind you of Genet's THE MAIDS and aspects of Stoppard's JUMPERS - Jacobson is working a distinctly American vernacular, and his voice is ultimately his own. There's a lot of erotic tension in the piece, which tells a wordless story that not only informs the talk but turns us on, too. Jacobson's real strength as an artist is his willingness to let mystery be just that. -Hilton Als, The New Yorker Playwright Tom Jacobson is known for tackling challenging themes, and his latest effort - recounting a scandalous little-known chapter in Southern California history - is among his boldest. Not content to merely relate a fascinating milestone in gay-rights travails, Jacobson sets the stage for two versatile actors to explore multilayered ruminations on sexual identity, institutional corruption, the conscience of civil servants carrying out questionable duties, the mysteries of the acting craft, and more ... Jacobson's intriguing script shrewdly mixes historical fact and fictionalization. The inventive play-within-a-play structure ... The play takes a startling turn at the end, bringing Jacobson's central themes of role-playing, self-deception, and moral responsibility to a shattering conclusion. -Les Spindle, Backstage West ... playwright Tom Jacobson, who loves to tinker with history in surprising and ticklish ways, doesn't seem interested in doing a docu-drama. By untethering from reality a la WAITING FOR GODOT and placing the action in the actors' minds, he comes up with something bigger, bolder and better as the two actors onstage bend identity, twist law and criminalize sex. It is also hysterically funny and simultaneously deadly serious. -Rod Stafford Hagwood, Sun Sentinel ... playwright Tom Jacobson's trademark cerebral acrobatics in his new play, THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY WAY. -Philip Brandes, The Los Angeles Times Tom Jacobson's scintillating new play. -Steven Leigh Morris, L A Weekly Few joys are more long-lasting than seeing a theatrical work that contains enough complexity to make one ponder. An intricate piece written and produced well will leave one peeling layers away for days. One gradually comes to full understanding of something which was, on first encounter, like an unopened bud: full of depth and richness hidden behind a structured exterior. Take, as case in point, Tom Jacobson's intricate, fascinating, and very adult play, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY. Indeed, it is disturbing. It is historic. It is deeply moving. It needs to be seen. -Frances Baum Nicholson, Pasadena Star News

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