All That Jazz

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for All That Jazz. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Steadfast
Main Character Resolve

In the opening scene, Joe asserts “To be on the wire is life: the rest is waiting” (Aurthur and Fosse 1). This statement sums up Joe’s credo, and because of it he remains steadfast in living the high life, despite the fact that it is literally killing him.

Stop
Main Character Growth

If Joe is to live, he must stop drinking, drugging, and screwing around.
Audrey, Katie, and Michelle entreat him to do this, singing: “You better stop, you better change, you better stop and change your ways today” (Aurthur and Fosse 143).

Do-er
Main Character Approach

When faced with a problem, Joe takes action. At a loss for staging ideas or faced with problems editing The Standup, he works late into the night—exhausting himself rather than giving up; when Katie confronts him about their relationship, he tells her he loves her to head off a break-up; and so forth.

Linear
Main Character Mental Sex

Joe evaluates problems in terms of cause and effect. For example, when he comes across organs preserved in formaldehyde, he jokes:

Listen . . . I told you guys you should take better care of yourselves. Too much booze . . . too much smoking . . . too much screwing around . . . it’ll get ya every time. (Aurthur and Fosse 120)

Action
Story Driver

How well the dancers perform determines who will be chosen for a part in NY/LA: “If you just stay in line for a minute, we’ll make our decisions. Look, there are only twelve jobs . . . (Aurthur and Fosse 7); Joe’s abuse of drugs and alcohol, combined with working and playing at a breakneck pace, contributes to his heart attack. Once this happens, he and the producers of NY/LA decide it’s time he recover in the hospital; Joe’s extramarital affairs forced his wife to divorce him; because of Joe’s indisposition, Jonesy decides to sound out Lucas as a possible replacement; and so forth.

Optionlock
Story Limit

All the options for keeping Joe alive, and therefore the production of NY/LA afloat, are exhausted at the time of his death.

Failure
Story Outcome

The show (NY/LA) does not go on.

Good
Story Judgment

Joe accepts his death—and an afterlife with Angelique. In addition, Joe may have failed in bringing NY/LA to Broadway, but his fantasy production of his good-bye to life is “the best one yet” (Aurthur and Fosse 127).

Overall Story Throughline

""

Physics
Overall Story Throughline

For the most part, all the objective characters are participating in the endeavor to put on the stage production of NY/LA and/or the film The Standup. Paul is composing music; Audrey is reading the script and trying out new dance steps; dancers are rehearsing; Jonathan and Stacy are involved in the film’s post-production; and so forth.

Doing
Overall Story Concern

All That Jazz is a story that deals with performance and all that it takes in accomplishing a successful one, be it for the screen, the stage, or a hospital operating room. In the screenplay, the directions given are as follows:

Dancers audition: There are dancers everywhere, crowding the wings, every available backstage area—all trying to learn the audition combination . . . they bump into one another . . . the dancing never stops, the same dance combination being performed as the number of candidates is reduced from the original couple of hundred. (Aurthur and Fosse 3-4); Katie and Michelle perform a song and dance number for Joe; in the editing suite, Jonathan whispers to Stacy “Oh man, how many times do we have to look at this thing?” (Aurthur and Fosse)

Skill
Overall Story Issue

Audrey assures Joe that she has developed the ability to play a much younger woman than herself: “You do think I’m too old to play the part. But you’re wrong. I can play twenty-four years old, and I’ll damn well prove it ” (Aurthur and Fosse 56); Victoria’s skills as a dancer are not at the same level as the other performers, yet she is adept at seducing her way into the production; and so forth.

Experience
Overall Story Counterpoint

Because they have worked together many times, Audrey is very familiar with the way Joe stages a show. This is why she is able to assure Paul that Joe won’t cut his musical number: “He always says the same thing about every number in every show” (Aurthur and Fosse 55).

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Skill vs.Experience

One of the dancers auditioning for NY/LA expresses the dilemma of one who has the aptitude to perform, but not the experience that is often required for a stage production:

Joe

The Wiz?

Astrid

(after a long pause) Mr. Gideon, I’ve never been in The Wiz or any show in my life . . . I had to put something on my card. I really need a job . . . I owe Julliard a thousand dollars . . . so I lied.


Joe

That’s OK, Astrid, I lie all the time myself. (Aurthur and Fosse 4-5).

Cause
Overall Story Problem

Audrey’s harping on Joe’s infidelities causes tempers to flare; the “catchy and bouncy” (Aurthur and Fosse 36) music Paul composes for the show is the reason for Joe’s mental block; The Standup going into triple overtime is the source of anxiety for Penn:

Joey, I’ve got to talk to you about these time sheets . . . three weeks we’ve been on triple time and the brass is eating my ass out. You shot eighty-two days on a sixty-five day schedule. On a four month editing schedule, you’ve gone seven months. We’re already two million two over the original budget. I mean, God created the entire world in six days and never went on overtime once. . . . I’m usually a very calm man; but this whole thing has got me terribly crazy. (Aurthur and Fosse 39)

Effect
Overall Story Solution

Audrey’s bitterness toward Joe’s extracurricular marital activities serves as a source of inspiration for his new dance; Joe’s experimenting with Paul’s music results in a brilliant, original production number for the show; once Penn sees the latest film footage, he can appreciate the results of Joe’s insistence on perfection: “Oh, my God, it is better. God help us all. It is better” (Aurthur and Fosse 40).

Test
Overall Story Symptom

The audition is a test for the dancers; the doctors keep Joe for testing; Katie tests Joe’s commitment to her by letting him know she has the opportunity to tour with her dance company for six months; Nurse Gibbons examines Joe to see if he truly is having a heart attack:

Nurse Gibbons

He can’t be in pain. Let me get his pulse. . . .But you just had the medication, twenty minutes ago . . . you couldn’t possibly be in pain . . . it was just twenty minutes ago. (Aurthur and Fosse 114)

Trust
Overall Story Response

Joe asks the producers to trust in the choices he has made; Despite Nurse Gibbons’ assertion that Joe could not possibly be in pain, Audrey implicitly accepts Joe’s statement that he is having a heart attack: “Goddamn it, he knows the symptoms. Call somebody. Hurry!” (Aurthur and Fosse 114)

Wisdom
Overall Story Catalyst

Dr. Ballinger’s comprehension of Joe’s medical condition convinces Jonesy, and finally Joe himself, to keep Joe in the hospital putting NY/LA in a tailspin; Leslie Perry, a seasoned film critic, gives her negative review of The Standup hastening Joe’s heart attack.

Security
Overall Story Inhibitor

As an example of how “security” impedes the objective story’s progress, Victoria, insecure about her dancing ability, halts the rehearsal when she breaks down crying: “I’m terrible, I know I’m terrible. I can’t, like, seem to do anything right. I look in the mirror and I’m embarrassed. Maybe I should quit . . . ” (Aurthur and Fosse 52); Once the dancers are informed of NY/LA’s postponement, the sense of security they heretofore have experienced disappears; and so forth.

Obtaining
Overall Story Benchmark

How much the objective story characters obtain or lose is how progress is measured in the objective story. Dancers who achieve a role in the production of NY/LA will gain a certain salary and an entry for their resume—if the show does not go on they lose it all, and in addition, they miss the opportunities they spurned to take part in NY/LA; as time goes on Victoria’s dancing improves; and so forth.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

All That Jazz is a film that literally dances. Its opening is brilliant, a thrilling and poignant montage of leaping, straining bodies as Joe winnows out a stageful of young dancers to the final chorus line. The whole movie comes hurtling at you . . . There’s an amazing sequence in which Joe puts on one of his dances for the producers of the show. . . Dance is Joe Gideon’s life pulse. Fosse wittily and touchingly shows how Joe can relate to others only through body contact: in a wonderful scene with his daughter, he discusses their relationship while their bodies intertwine as he teaches her various ballet positions.

In All That Jazz, showbiz becomes a metaphor for the interlocking of dross and excellence in contemporary life. Joe Gideon adores his dancers but can’t stand what Agnes de Mille referred to as the “Mafia” side of showbiz. There’s a gruesomely funny scene in which the show’s moneymen discover they can actually make money if Joe dies before the show opens. Fosse intercuts this scene with Joe’s open-heart surgery. The last third of the film takes place in the hospital, a clinical crescendo of black comedy as Joe hurtles toward his fate. In the climactic episode, Joe imagines his death as a TV spectacular presided over by “host” Ben Vereen. (Kroll 78-79)

Overall Story Backstory

As the objective story opens, Joe Gideon is introduced as a successful choreographer/director, obsessed with his work and dependent on Dexedrine, booze, and cigarettes—and not to mention his libido. His past success is what puts him in the position to create another Broadway hit, his continued abuse of his body is what will cause the endeavor to fail.

Main Character Throughline

Joe Gideon — Director for stage/film

Universe
Main Character Throughline

The state of affairs Joe finds himself in is a body that is quickly deteriorating and the very real possibility that it may no longer support him.

Progress
Main Character Concern

Joe is concerned with staging NY/LA; moving forward with The Standup; the way his health is deteriorating; how his relationship with Katie will proceed after she has had an affair and so forth.

Fantasy
Main Character Issue

Joe’s job is to provide fantasies for audiences; one example is the erotic fantasy he choreographs for NY/LA.

Fact
Main Character Counterpoint

Joe does everything not to face the fact that he is dying; Davis gives his opinion of what he believes is the real Joe Gideon:

Davis

Gideon, I’ve got real insight into you . . . There’s a deep rooted fear of being conventional . . . and what’s underneath is this dreadful fear that you’re ordinary, not special. . .

Joe

. . .right. (Aurthur and Fosse 90).

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Fantasy vs.Fact

The way All That Jazz is constructed is to present Hallucinatory Joe and the real Joe as representations of how he considers fantasy and fact. The two appear together as Hallucinatory Joe directs the real Joe’s final hours. Joe performs in a fantasy show-stopping sendoff and exits with his fantasy lover, Angelique. The fact is, his life ends zipped up in a body bag.

Unending
Main Character Problem

Joe continually abuses his body, acting like he will live forever; he is driven to stage NY/LA and perfect The Standup, which means putting in interminable hours; he continues to “tap-dance” through meaningless affairs, which hurts those closest to him (ex-wife, girlfriend, daughter); and so forth. Note: Joe’s problem of unending is illustrated visually in the film with the repetition of the montage of Joe’s morning waking routine—Vivaldi cassette, Alka Seltzer, cold shower, Dexedrine, coffee, and “It’s show time, folks” announcement to himself in the mirror.

Ending
Main Character Solution

Joe may think that a finished production of The Standup and NY/LA (to his standards) will resolve his personal drive, but being a perfectionist, the possibility of that happening is not likely. Because he refuses to change his way of living and kick his bad habits, only death can solve his problem.

Test
Main Character Symptom

Katie tests Joe’s feelings for her by asking him what she should do about the job offer that would take her away for six months; Michelle constantly tests her father to find out if and when he will provide her with a sibling; and so forth.

Trust
Main Character Response

Joe asks Victoria to trust him to help her become a better dancer; Audrey can never trust Joe with other women, however, as a director/choreographer it is a different story, as indicated in the screenplay:

Dann

If she’s (Victoria) in the show, I’m out . . . I walk.

Audrey

Listen Paul, if you’re smart you’ll do exactly what he wants you to do. Trust him. He’s made an awful lot of money for all of us . . . all of us before and believe me, he’ll do it again. (Aurthur and Fosse 12)

Fact
Main Character Unique Ability

Everyone concerned with the production of NY/LA maintains the belief that when it comes to choreographing and directing the show, Joe is genuinely the best one to do it—making him uniquely able to achieve the goal.

Skill
Main Character Critical Flaw

Joe’s reliance on his natural aptitude as a choreographer and director to make NY/LA a success, without taking the time out to listen to and care for his body, is what undermines his efforts to achieve the goal and why he ultimately fails in bringing the show to completion.

Future
Main Character Benchmark

The more Joe’s health deteriorates, the more he exhibits a lack of concern for his future:

Dr. Ballinger

. . .everything he does is a denial of his condition.

Second Intern

He acts like he really doesn’t care.

 

Dr. Ballinger

Oh, he cares all right. He cares too much in fact. The measure of his fear of death is how much he denies its possibility by his irrational behavior. (Aurthur and Fosse 93)

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Joe Gideon is a man who has developed a specific image. Dressed in casual black clothes, he is a chain smoker with a cigarette constantly drooping from the left corner of his mouth. . . . His emotions change rapidly without transitions. Laughing, joking one moment—then suddenly angry (usually directed toward himself) but always accompanied by a hyper-nervous energy. (Aurthur and Fosse 4)

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

The main character throughline is described by the showman O’Connor Flood:

Folks, what can I tell you about my next guest? This cat . . . allowed himself to be adored but not loved. Strictly a pro since age thirteen, starting in sleazy Chicago dives and burlesque . . . this cat rose to become a leading director-choreographer on the Great White Way and in flicks. But success in show biz was matched by failure in his personal relationship bag . . . And from all this experience he came to believe that his whole scene—work, showbiz, personal life, and himself . . . all that jazz . . . was bullshit. The cat swung between heavy ego and very heavy self doubt. He had become a Numero Uno game player—like to where he didn’t know . . . where the games ended and reality began. Like to him the only reality . . . is death, man. (Aurthur and Fosse 126-127)

Main Character Backstory

Joe is a the premier director/choreographer for stage; he is an acclaimed director of film as well. He has a history of living life to excess, particularly in the areas of women, alcohol, and drugs.

Influence Character Throughline

Angelique — Angel

Mind
Influence Character Throughline

Angelique has a fixed attitude towards the question of Joe living or dying. She wants him to release the earthly ties that bind him and live with her in eternity.

Preconscious
Influence Character Concern

Angelique’s impact is felt in the unthinking responses that accompany death.

Worth
Influence Character Issue

Joe is worth a great deal to Angelique. She can clearly see all of his faults and flaws, yet from an emotional point of view, she still finds him extremely desirable.

Value
Influence Character Counterpoint

Angelique compels Joe to consider objectively what value he has as a human being:

Angelique

Marriage.

Joe

Screwed up.

 

Angelique

Family.

 

Joe

Screwed up.

 

Angelique

Work.

 

Joe

All there is. (Aurthur and Fosse 14)

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Worth vs.Value

Angelique considers Joe desirable and much more useful to her in death than to himself and others in life.

Ability
Influence Character Problem

Angelique probing why Joe is the way he is creates tension between them.

Effect
Influence Character Solution

The effect of Angelique’s probing into Joe’s life is to fall more in love with him:

Angelique

. . . heavy into speed. Sleeps with a great many women.

Joe

A real turn off, huh?

 

Angelique

. . . just the opposite. (Aurthur and Fosse 8)

Unproven
Influence Character Symptom

Throughout the course of the story, Angelique focuses on the unconfirmed accounts of Joe’s life—looking to him for verification.

Proven
Influence Character Response

Joe verifies the information Angelique has about him.

Value
Influence Character Unique Ability

Joe’s “increasing doubts about the value of his entire life” (Kroll) makes it easy for Angelique to force him to take a long, hard look at the abuse he has put himself and others through.

Ability
Influence Character Critical Flaw

Angelique does not have the actual capacity to determine if Joe lives or dies. Only Joe can make that decision.

Subconscious
Influence Character Benchmark

The more Joe’s basic drives and desires are focused on Angelique, the more he is likely to give a positive response to her invitation to death.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

“She is strikingly beautiful . . . her voice is soft, gentle, seductive” (Aurthur and Fosse 1).

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Angelique delicately compels Joe to review himself and his life while he undergoes the complex life or death decision making process.

Influence Character Backstory

Angelique is quite attracted to Joe and begins their relationship fully prepared to take him to the other side.

Relationship Story Throughline

""

Psychology
Relationship Story Throughline

Angelique and Joe explore his lifetime of manipulation together, and entertain the ways that they can manipulate each other. When Angelique makes a remark about the double standard Joe had set for his and Katie’s relationship, it is clear that she would never adhere to the same kind of rules.

Being
Relationship Story Concern

Joe and Angelique come into conflict over the kind of lifestyle (not to mention his life on earth) he must give up in order to live with her.

Ability
Relationship Story Issue

Angelique and Joe are affected by his talent to manipulate women—from his mother to his daughter and all women in between—except for Angelique herself. Although she is affected by his charm, she does not allow herself to be submerged by it, and more importantly, his charisma cannot harm her. In the screenplay, Angelique lets Joe know that she is always a few steps ahead of his games:
“He’s taken aback by her ability always to anticipate his thoughts.

Angelique

You can’t make me jealous, Joe.

Joe

So I see.” (Aurthur and Fosse 83)

Desire
Relationship Story Counterpoint

Angelique represents to Joe the ultimate in a beautiful and desirable woman. She exhibits her charms to their best advantage, making Joe aware of the ecstasy that can be his in the afterlife.

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Ability vs.Desire

It is Angelique’s capacity to withstand Joe’s charisma and accept and love him in spite of his flaws, that makes Joe desire her all the more. This eventually motivates him to change from enjoying earthly pleasures to choosing eternal bliss.

Cause
Relationship Story Problem

The reason for death to come calling on Joe is because of the irresponsible and dangerous way he has treated his body. The reason why death is represented in the shape of the beautiful Angelique is because she is the one woman he cannot emotionally damage, which causes friction between the two.

Effect
Relationship Story Solution

Angelique’s efforts to lead Joe to the other side result in success:
Angelique: If you want to be with me, Joe, you know you can never be with anyone else.

Joe

I accept. (Aurthur and Fosse 131)

Non-Accurate
Relationship Story Symptom

Joe is concerned that once Angelique is aware of his flaws, she will be turned off by him.

Accurate
Relationship Story Response

Angelique assures Joe that his flawed character is perfectly acceptable to her.

Knowledge
Relationship Story Catalyst

It is Joe admitting to Angelique what he doesn’t know that brings them closer together, as it makes him more vulnerable:

“I don’t know where bullshit ends and truth begins” (Kroll 78).

Confidence
Relationship Story Inhibitor

Joe’s expectation that he can charm Angelique, as he has been able to do with all women in the past, slows the growth between the two as, although she appreciates it, she is able to withstand his charm.

Becoming
Relationship Story Benchmark

The more Joe is able to identify with death (Angelique) the more he is prepared to move onto the afterlife with her.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

All That Jazz has another dimension, a fantasy realm presided over by Angelique (Jessica Lange), a mysterious figure in white who represents Joe Gideon’s final comeuppance; she is Death seen as Woman, whose beauty and power have always been at the center of Joe’s (and Bob Fosse’s) life and art. With this Felliniesque dream-figure, Gideon revisits his past . . .(Kroll 78)

Relationship Story Backstory

Joe is flirting with death, as he knowingly self destructs. Angelique is beside him, presiding over his self reflection. They conflict over issues of power. Angelique can easily seduce him to his death; Joe must relinquish his own power over women (as well as his own life) if he is to follow her to the other side.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Doing
Overall Story Goal

Making the production of NY/LA happen is the primary goal of common concern to the objective characters.

Being
Overall Story Consequence

If NY/LA does not go on, the dancers and others associated with the production will be out of work, and forced to take on jobs that are meaningless to them such as being waiters, sales clerks, and so forth until they can audition for a new part on Broadway.

Preconscious
Overall Story Cost

Audrey’s immediate response to Joe’s dance number is to burst into tears, costing her a momentary loss of pride, Paul’s response is “now Sinatra will never record it” (Aurthur and Fosse), and the producers’ reflexively concern themselves with losing their audiences because of its blatant eroticism; Young Joe’s response to the strippers fondling him is to unthinkingly ejaculate, causing him tremendous embarrassment on stage when the audience notices the wet spot; Katie’s response to finding Victoria and Joe asleep together is hurt and disappointment; Lucas Sergeant’s pride is hurt when an actress asks for his autograph and unthinkingly blurts out that, next to Joe Gideon (his arch rival), he is her favorite director; and so forth.

Progress
Overall Story Dividend

Victoria develops into a better dancer; because of the blockbuster way The Standup opened, the financial backers are “talking a three million dollar advertising budget . . . three million dollars, can you believe that? I mean, with that kind of push this picture will go right through the roof . . . right through the roof” (Aurthur and Fosse 93); and so forth.

Obtaining
Overall Story Requirements

Dancers must obtain a part in the show; Joe must keep the producers happy as to the content of the show; Audrey must achieve leading lady status; and so forth.

Becoming
Overall Story Prerequisites

Dance hopefuls must transform their raw talent into what it takes to be a performer on Broadway; Joe must overcome certain objections from the producers to create the show he wants, e.g., casting, production numbers; Audrey must transform herself from a woman of a certain age to the “young thing” required for the lead role.

Subconscious
Overall Story Preconditions

For the most part, Joe operates on a subconscious level when choosing (or not choosing) his dancers:

Younger Girl Dancer

Oh, fuck him. He never picks me.
Older Girl Dancer

Honey, I did fuck him, and he never picks me either. (Aurthur and Fosse 11)

Future
Overall Story Forewarnings

The prospect that Joe might not recover from his heart attack is a forewarning of the show collapsing and the actors/dancers being out of work.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Understanding
Overall Story Signpost 1

After listening to the banter between Joe and Joan (a dancer auditioning), the other dancers come to appreciate that one way to get a job is to kiss up to the director; As part of his standup act, Davis talks about death, specifically Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s comprehension of it:

There’s this lady in Chicago, man . . . wrote a book . . . Dr. Kubler-Ross . . . Now this chick, man . . . without the benefit of dying herself, has broken the process of Death into five stages. . . .Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. (Aurthur and Fosse 18)

Overall Story Journey 1 from Understanding to Doing

Although she says she understands, Joe’s daughter doesn’t really appreciate the reasons why her father is too busy to spend time with her; Victoria immediately comprehends why Joe asks about her home phone number, and not too much later is in his home engaging in sexual relations with him; and so forth.

Doing
Overall Story Signpost 2

Paul Dann demonstrates his opening song for the show; dancers rehearse; Audrey rehearses; Katie and Michelle perform for Joe; and so forth.

Overall Story Journey 2 from Doing to Obtaining

Dancers perform “Take Off With Us” to obtain the producer’s approval; since Joe is temporarily out of action, Jonesy woos Sergeant to possibly take his place:

Sergeant

I can see where it would be difficult to hold a cast like that together . . . It’s really a shame . . . and of course even after four months, with a heart attack, there’s really no guarantee he’ll be able to work.

Jonesy

And, Lucas, I think we have a sure hit, a sure hit . . . reads like a dream . . .

Sergeant

I’d love to read it sometime.

Jonesy

I’ll get a copy to you this afternoon. Oh, I forgot, wait a minute. I’ve got one here with me. Course I know you couldn’t care a less about the money.

Light Director

How about this, Lucas?

Sergeant

No, it should be more shadowy. This is a seduction scene, you know. (to Jonesy) How much is Joe getting? (Aurthur and Fosse 77)

Obtaining
Overall Story Signpost 3

Dancers face the very real possibility of losing their jobs; the producers hope to keep the actors and dancers together until Joe can come back; Jonesy tempts Lucas Sergeant with Joe’s directorial job; and so forth.

Overall Story Journey 3 from Obtaining to Learning

Katie is concerned that she will lose Joe once she learns he knows about her indiscretion with another man; the dancers mutter amongst themselves what they gave up (television series) to perform in NY/LA, and what they might lose (new apartment) when they learn of Joe’s medical condition; and so forth.

Learning
Overall Story Signpost 4

Members of the hospital staff learn from Dr. Ballinger how to proceed with their difficult patient, Joe Gideon; Joe reads the newspaper reviews of The Standup that Penn has gathered for him; Joe explores Katie’s betrayal:

Katie

See how much I learned from you?

Joe

I’m afraid you learned too much from me.

 

Katie

What do you mean . . . I learned too much from you?

 

Joe

Remember last Tuesday night? You were with someone. (Aurthur and Fosse 102); The producers set out to gather information on what the financial impact of Joe’s heart attack is: “. . . the play’s producers and corporate angels all sit down around a conference table to compute how much money they are going to lose as a result of their director’s incapacity” (Palmer 60).

Main Character

Past
Main Character Signpost 1

Joe admits, that in retrospect, he screwed up his marriage. In the past, Joe had worked at a strip joint; and so forth.

Main Character Journey 1 from Past to Future

The way Joe has related to women in the past sets the standard of how he will relate to them in the future.

Future
Main Character Signpost 2

When asked go on tour, Katie forces Joe to decide the future of their relationship—at least for the next six months; Michelle asks her father to remarry:

Michelle

If you got married, maybe you’d have a baby and maybe I’d have a little brother.

Joe

I’ll call Hertz tomorrow and rent you a brother. (Aurthur and Fosse 44)

Main Character Journey 2 from Future to Present

Joe is concerned with the future of the show. This is why he wants the producers to see how it’s staged now; Joe tells Michelle he won’t marry in the future because of the way he is; and so forth.

Present
Main Character Signpost 3

At the present time, “Mr. Gideon has a very serious case of angina that could possibly lead to a massive coronary” (Aurthur and Fosse 70).

Main Character Journey 3 from Present to Progress

Although his current state of ill-health causes the doctors to demand he rest and recuperate, Joe does not take them seriously, as depicted in a conversation with the dietitian:
Dietitian: I’ll leave these menus with you, Mr. Gideon. Please check off what you want for the coming week.

Joe

On Monday I’ll have the roast beef, Tuesday chicken, Wednesday steak, and Thursday I plan to be dead so I’ll just have something light. (Aurthur and Fosse 68)

; As Joe progresses from his present state to further medical deterioration, he stages fantasy production numbers that represent what and who he’s going to miss; and so forth.

Progress
Main Character Signpost 4

Despite mixed reviews, Joe is informed that his film, The Standup, has broken every first day record and is advancing toward blockbuster status.

Influence Character

Preconscious
Influence Character Signpost 1

Angelique plays a word association game with Joe. She gives him the word and he responds with the first thing that immediately comes to his mind.

influence Character Journey 1 from Preconscious to Subconscious

Angelique has been playing a word association game with Joe. A hint of her backstory is indicated when she asks about the word “mother”:

Mother

Ever since he was this high he’s had such a crush on you.

Angelique

I’ve always been fond of Joe, too. (Aurthur and Fosse 30)

Subconscious
Influence Character Signpost 2

Angelique queries Joe on the subject of love, and determines he has used the word as a manipulative tool:

Angelique

You believe in love?

Joe

I believe in saying I love you. It helps people concentrate. (after a moment; turns to her, not joking) I’d believe in it if I knew what it was. (Aurthur and Fosse 44A)

Influence Character Journey 2 from Subconscious to Memory

Joe recalls why he is in show biz in an attempt to make Angelique jealous:

Joe

Women . . . to tell the truth, is why I got into this business . . .

Angelique

Just to meet girls. (Aurthur and Fosse 83).

Memory
Influence Character Signpost 3

Angelique’s recollection of Joe’s tight wire comment underscores the fatal decision he has made about his lifestyle as he is rushed to the hospital.

Influence Character Journey 3 from Memory to Conscious

Angelique has led Joe in a journey down memory lane, now she compels him to consider a life with her.

Conscious
Influence Character Signpost 4

Angelique considers Joe’s request to hold off a little longer before seducing him over to the other side.

Relationship Story

Conceptualizing
Relationship Story Signpost 1

Angelique and Joe explore his ideas of life and what his credo of living on the wire entails.

Relationship Story Journey 1 from Conceptualizing to BeingJoe bemoans to Angelique he is obsessively driven to be perfect: "A rose is perfect," Joe Gideon cries. "I look at a rose and say to myself: "How in hell did God do that?" Why can't I do that?" (Aurthur and Fosse 61) Angelique comments that that must be one of his better con lines, indicating her appreciation of the many roles he plays to live the way he has always wanted.
Being
Relationship Story Signpost 2

Joe and Angelique discuss his short time living with two women “lasted five months” (Aurthur and Fosse 37); Joe and Angelique explore why women fall for him when he acts like such a cad:

Joe

Why do you think she put up with it?

Angelique

I can think of many reasons for wanting to be with you. (Aurthur and Fosse 50).

Relationship Story Journey 2 from Being to Becoming

Joe plays photographer with Angelique as they discuss their similarities, becoming closer:

Joe

Me? I’m a dedicated collector of injustices.

Angelique

Sometimes real, sometimes imagined.

Joe

I always look for the worst in people.

Angelique

. . . a piece of you in them . . .

Joe

Yeah . . . a piece of me . . . and generally I find it.

Angelique

It may take you years, but you’ll find it. You’re cute. You are cute.

He laughs, looks at her a moment, his attraction to her obviously deepening. (Aurthur and Fosse 78)

Becoming
Relationship Story Signpost 3

Angelique transforms from an ethereal beauty to a much more earthy, sexual being making her more approachable for Joe.

Relationship Story Journey 3 from Becoming to Conceiving

Joe makes the transition from life to death, accepting the idea of eternal life with one woman—Angelique.

Conceiving
Relationship Story Signpost 4

The discussion Joe and Angelique have on how he has handled Katie’s betrayal indicates that Joe has an idea his time is near:

Angelique

Did you mean that?

Joe

Oh, hell no! I was fuckin’ pissed off at her . . . I don’t know . . . yeah, sort of. Oh, hell . . . I just wanted to say something nice to her, that’s all. In case . . .

Angelique

In case . . . (She moves to him, kisses him on the lips. He gently pushes her back.) (Aurthur and Fosse 104)

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics

OS: MC: IC: RS:

Dramatica Story Expert

the next chapter in story development

Buy Now