Convergence-Continuum presents ninety minutes of intrigue and social relevance
The year is 1914 and the place Long Beach California. Two actors, Warren (Michael Prosen) and Brown (Keith Kornajcik) have been summoned for an audition thinking that there is only one part available. What they do not know is that this “audition” is being held by the Long Beach Police Department. Both men are being tested to act as undercover vice cops in order to weed out deviant behavior.
Their job is to go out into the city and entrap social vagrants in public restrooms, gay bars and private social gatherings held by prominent citizens in their palatial homes. As a result of this sweep thirty-one men were arrested and a huge scandal swept the city. Reputations were ruined and some of the arrested resorted to suicide rather than face the public outcry. From these actions an ordinance against oral sodomy was passed in California. This in a nut shell is the synopsis of Tom Jacobson’s “The Twentieth Way” now on stage at Convergence-Continuum.
Over the course of ninety minutes each out of work actor (thinking that they are auditioning for a solo part) attempts to out do each other by taking on a variety of personalities based on socially connected people in the Long Beach area. They will be paid $15 a head for each and every arrest that they make. This is the equivalent of over $400 in today’s inflated dollars.
By use of various accents, moderate costume changes and gestures each man plays a part opposite their acting competition in the hopes that they will be chosen for this “role of a lifetime.” Little do they know that both have already been chosen.
Along with the numerous changes in character that unfold before our eyes time seems to take a holiday also as there is a shift from the audition to the various acts of entrapment to the resulting publicized scandals that were front page news for months.
While both actors are competent there were some minor flaws in the delivery but hardly enough to note. For the most part the show was fast paced and easy to follow once you realized what was being presented. The show does skirt around some faux sexually explicit scenes but the action comes at a halt before too much is revealed.
Fans of Con-Con will love this quirky fast moving acting romp. It will also be a delight for actors who love watching challenging rolls unfold on stage. Some people will leave having not gotten what the play is all about while others will knowingly nod in understanding. This is black box theater of a higher level.
“The Twentieth Century Way” will be on stage at Convergence-Continuum located at 2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland, Ohio (in the Tremont area) through December 18, 2021. For more information and to purchase tickets go to https://www.convergence-continuum.org/ or call (216) 687-0074.
For information concerning the latest Covid protocols go to https://www.convergence-continuum.org/health-and-safety.