For anyone who has considered getting into the business of celebrity in any role other than actor, this play is a harsh expose of the behind-the-scenes antics of competition. In what is supposed to be a satirical take on the business side of show business, the author gives a rather daunting view of the personalities and in-fighting that lead to industry success.
In this tale, two competing Hollywood artists’ agencies vie for a contract with Foster, an up-and-coming writer on the cusp of success and unsure which agency will best protect his interests. Foster has so far done business with Richard Tench, a cynical, abusive man at the top of his game and under thirty.
Tench’s assistant, George Fargas, exhibit an unusual degree of cynicism, obsessed with drugs and sly sexual innuendos. The owner of the agency, Julian, is temporarily in the hospital for tests, the stress of the business finally taking a toll on his body. When Tench and Fargas report on their negotiations, Julian reminds them that this is the time to shine, while he is out of commission. Instead of working to retain Foster, the men get sidetracked, Fargas indulging in his usual partying while Tench worries about their competition.
The other agency is run by Linne Callow, an ambitious woman who refuses to be inhibited by the patriarchal system endemic to Hollywood. Callow’s new assistant, Judi, is anxious to learn everything her aggressive and grating boss can teach her: “The mark of the man is in the quality of the enemies he makes.”
In his quest for recognition, Foster begins ignoring his wife, Andrea. Running around town self-promoting, his personal life falls apart and his wife leaves. Later, when Linne Callow disappears, Foster is suddenly without representation and direction, worrying more about his career than what has happened to the agent.
The dialog is tough, brittle and cruel, scenes alternating between the two offices, meetings at bars and at Tench’s home, each team sure they will prevail with Foster. There is no let-up in language that is both vicious and crude, the characters snapping like piranhas with blood in the water.
These people thrive in an ugly world, all fueled by greed and ego. Although there is a shocking resolution at the end, by then it is too late, the over-the-top dialog a barrage of insults, none of the characters even remotely likeable, except perhaps for the very incidental Andrea.
What is intended as a satire becomes mere excess, albeit with a twist at the end, celebrity hardly desirable considering the cost in this paean to the banality of greed. Unfortunately, the humor fails to materialize.