There is certainly some invention at work here. Hilda Guttormsen is intriguing as Brahe's silenced daughter, Fetzer himself makes a funny Kepler, and Susanna Burney does a precise, hilarious take on the egotistical Brahe. Furthermore, once you hack your way through the overweening dialogue, the writing displays some of the goofy, literate riffing that distinguished Woody Allen's writing in the early '70s. Like Allen, Fetzer has a field day throwing the stern logic of history into the absurd maelstrom that is 20th-century culture. When a televised Kepler is flustered by a camera operator who informs him that there are, in fact, four more planets than he'd realized, he furiously replies, "Yes, but I didn't know that at the time!" This is the articulate fun that Mars somehow ends up thinking it's above having. The production is disingenuous and insular; the audience is allowed no stake in its outcome. Where Allen ultimately rewards you for running with his references, Fetzer and Holyoke seem to want congratulations for providing them.
Moreover, despite Fetzer's winking narcissism and repeated attempts at self-deprecation, the play inevitably becomes the things it mocks. It stumbles over a fine line somewhere and comes out on the wrong side of satire, gleefully nudging its bombast with supposedly ironic S&M fetishes and a tiring genital fixation. Mars rambles like a drunk intellectual at a theater party, cornering the object of its desire and slurring endless profundities in a desperate attempt to disguise the fact that it just really wants to get laid.