Rather than telling the story in a traditional fashion, Jacobson's play imagines that two actors meet at an audition in the early part of the 20th century, and as they wait, they discuss the differences in their training - eventually engaging in an improv competition to demonstrate the differences in their acting processes. Before long, they are portraying, in rapid-fire succession, the gay men who are caught in compromising positions in public places, law enforcement officials, and the journalists following the proceedings.
Bradley and Mammana jet between characters of different ages and ethnic backgrounds (both men are particularly felicitous with accents) with precision. Even more impressively, they glide between the characters' fictions and reality with ease, as the sexual tensions build between the two men personally and in their imagined liaisons. And Michetti ensures that Jacobson's potentially confusing Pirandellian landscape never becomes overly murky.
Unfortunately, neither the director's work nor the two fine performances overcome the increasingly indistinct lines of reality and fantasy which keep theatergoers at an emotional remove from the historical stories and the fictional one that frames them. By the time the performers reveal themselves fully at the play's end, the effect is strained rather than cathartic.
-- Andy Propst