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.
â€œIn my school, we just learned about him, we didnâ€™t learn about her, which may say something,â€ said Mary Williams, 25, who stars as Zelda in the one-woman play â€œThe Last Flapper.â€
The Lincoln Charter School has put Zelda Fitzgerald its curriculum. Williams will be performing â€œThe Last Flapperâ€ for eighth-grade and high school students. Students have read the William Luce play and one of F. Scott Fitzgeraldâ€™s stories.
â€œThe character thatâ€™s in it is Zelda, as are most of his female characters,â€ said Peggy Boring, the showâ€™s director.
Fitzgerald had a tendency to portray Zelda as a silly flapper. â€œThe Last Flapperâ€ tells the other side of the story, Boring said, including her â€œinsecurity, loneliness, self doubt and the two sides of the coin â€“ love and hate.â€
While she is best known as F. Scottâ€™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.
â€œShe goes back and forth between moments of craziness and anger,â€ Williams said.
Audience members will learn about Zeldaâ€™s upbringing in Alabama as a southern belle.
â€œShe 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,â€ Williams said.
Theyâ€™ll also learn about Zeldaâ€™s stormy marriage and subsequent institutionalization.
â€œSheâ€™s very touching and empathetic with the character,â€ Boring said of Williamsâ€™ performance. â€œSheâ€™s made it her own.â€
Williams double-majored in theater and English at Spring Hill College in Alabama. Sheâ€™s performed in many productions, including several for the Lincoln Theatre Guild, but â€œThe Last Flapperâ€ is her first one-woman play.
â€œItâ€™s more difficult, but easier at the same time,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s nice to know I have control of everything. Itâ€™s very empowering, very liberating, but you canâ€™t feed off the energy of anyone else.â€
Instead, Williams will have to feed off the audience, which will be made up of teenagers.
â€œI hope they enjoy it,â€ she said. â€œI hope it makes it more real to them.â€
Boring says Williams is â€œextraordinary to watch.â€
â€œItâ€™s pretty raw emotionally, and I think that the students can identify with it, but I think it will take them aback,â€ she said.
Boring hopes â€œThe Last Flapperâ€ can be performed for churches or other local groups. For more information call the Lincoln Charter School at (704) 736-9888.
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 â€œHamletâ€ and â€œThe Last Flapper.â€
by Sarah Grano