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The last flapper takes center stage

She may still be in the shadow of her famous husband, but a light will shine on Zelda Fitzgerald at the Lincoln Cultural Center April 27.
“In my school, we just learned about him, we didn’t learn about her, which may say something,” said Mary Williams, 25, who stars as Zelda in the one-woman play “The Last Flapper.”
The Lincoln Charter School has put Zelda Fitzgerald its curriculum. Williams will be performing “The Last Flapper” for eighth-grade and high school students. Students have read the William Luce play and one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories.
“The character that’s in it is Zelda, as are most of his female characters,” said Peggy Boring, the show’s director.
Fitzgerald had a tendency to portray Zelda as a silly flapper. “The Last Flapper” tells the other side of the story, Boring said, including her “insecurity, loneliness, self doubt and the two sides of the coin – love and hate.”
While she is best known as F. Scott’s glamorous, care-free flapper wife, Zelda spent her later years in a mental institution in Asheville where she eventually died in a fire.
The play takes place at the hospital where a schizophrenic Zelda tells the tales of her life.
“She goes back and forth between moments of craziness and anger,” Williams said.
Audience members will learn about Zelda’s upbringing in Alabama as a southern belle.
“She grew up, and she had all these fantastic ideas of what her life would be like, and she thought she would get that through a husband,” Williams said.
They’ll also learn about Zelda’s stormy marriage and subsequent institutionalization.
“She’s very touching and empathetic with the character,” Boring said of Williams’ performance. “She’s made it her own.”
Williams double-majored in theater and English at Spring Hill College in Alabama. She’s performed in many productions, including several for the Lincoln Theatre Guild, but “The Last Flapper” is her first one-woman play.
“It’s more difficult, but easier at the same time,” she said. “It’s nice to know I have control of everything. It’s very empowering, very liberating, but you can’t feed off the energy of anyone else.”
Instead, Williams will have to feed off the audience, which will be made up of teenagers.
“I hope they enjoy it,” she said. “I hope it makes it more real to them.”
Boring says Williams is “extraordinary to watch.”
“It’s pretty raw emotionally, and I think that the students can identify with it, but I think it will take them aback,” she said.
Boring hopes “The Last Flapper” can be performed for churches or other local groups. For more information call the Lincoln Charter School at (704) 736-9888.
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The Lincoln Charter School would like to thank Valerie King and others involved in the Lincoln Cultural Center for being able to use the venue free of charge for “Hamlet” and “The Last Flapper.”
by Sarah Grano

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