by Eric Coble
February 15 - March 8, 2008
Directed by Terry Veal
What would you do if you were granted one million dollars to spend however you
please in a week? When Eldon Phelps signs up for a new reality television show
called THE DEAD GUY, he's granted that seemingly
blissful opportunity in Eric Coble's biting comedy of the same title.
Playwright Eric Coble enjoys poking fun at American obsessions, and in
THE DEAD GUY, the world of reality television is the
butt of his humor.
At the play's start, reality
TV producer Gina Yaweth's career has taken a nosedive and she is desperate for a
new hit show to air during Sweeps Week. She arrives in Leadville, Colorado with
a proposition for a local loser who she's certain will take the bait, and
quickly sets her sights on a self-proclaimed slacker named Eldon Phelps who's
out of a job and out of a girlfriend. Gina's Pitch: You get one million dollars
to spend over the next seven days, while a camera crew follows your every move
for national television. The Hook: At the end of the week you die a famous man.
The Best Part: The viewing pubic gets to vote on the method of your death.
figures out he's not being "Punk'd," the prospect of fame and fortune is
irresistible, so he agrees to star as "The Dead Guy" and is eager to spend his
million dollars. In short order, Eldon splurges on new red pick-up trucks for
his family and an expensive engagement ring to propose to his former girlfriend.
When each of them discover that he will be dead in a week, they violently reject
his gifts and him, and soon Eldon is jetting off to Disneyland to drown his
sorrow with Magic Kingdom illusions, plenty of beer and cheap hookers.
At first, producer Gina
delights in the drama, but when Eldon's on-air activities threaten to turn
illegal, or even worse, boring, she'll do anything to keep the show's ratings
soaring. With lots of fast talking and manipulation from Gina, Eldon turns
philanthropic and during the remainder of the week works at being remembered as
"The Good Guy." All the while, Eldon hopes he'll be spared the death clause in
his contract, but it remains to be seen if Gina will disappoint her viewing
public by letting him live.
Eric Coble writes many plays
for children that vary widely in subject matter, but the common thread in all of
his plays for adults is his comic, but critical, look at our modern American
culture. In 2006, Carpenter Square Theatre produced another work by Eric Coble,
BRIGHT IDEAS, in which he satirized parents who are
obsessed with their children and will stop at nothing to secure their success.
His latest play, FOR BETTER, is a romantic comedy that
spoofs our overdependence on technology and gadgets, and
NATURAL SELECTION, an earlier work, is set in a near future where Native
Americans exist in theme parks and technology also reigns supreme.