Rewind and Zap

According to Goldman runs out of ideas, gets weird, and fizzles

Rasmussen and Schnetzer: Let's hammer on the keyboard like Little Richard.
Susan Lerner Photography
Rasmussen and Schnetzer: Let's hammer on the keyboard like Little Richard.

Thank God, because Stephen Schnetzer, who plays Gavin Miller, simply cannot cope. It's a shame, because he was brilliant for the play's first hour. He was the teacher everybody wishes he'd had: smart, sarcastic, funny, unapologetically passionate about his subject, and unapologetically intent on sharing that passion with you. Sitting in on his classes is a pleasure, even though watching his disgraceful treatment of his wife at home makes you wonder whether all single-minded talents are callous failures behind closed doors. And his interaction with Jeremiah is by turns tender, condescending, and exasperated — and sometimes all of these things at once. In the last 15 minutes, when the playwright's crazy gonzo storytelling has made all suspension of disbelief impossible, Schnetzer could have saved the production by going with it, his hugely charismatic Hollywood façade exploding with anger and incredulity. It doesn't happen. All of a sudden, at the play's most dramatic and potentially trenchant (if unpardonably silly) moment, he goes limp. His marriage is in danger; he blanks. His career is over; he blanks. Either Miller suffered an understandable lapse of faith in Bruce Graham's ability or director Louis Tyrell made the mistake of taking the play's final act as seriously as it took itself. Either way, this is fatal, fatal stuff, and somebody needs to fix it.

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