Reality television gets a poke in the contemporary dark comedy, "The Dead Guy," presented by Bismarck State College Theatre Dec. 7-11.
Performances of the edgy adult alternative play are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.
Written by Emmy Award-nominated playwright Eric Coble, "The Dead Guy" is a satire on U.S. reality television. The play mixes on-stage acting, previously recorded segments, special effects and live filming on a set that resembles a recording studio.
The story wraps around hard-luck Eldon Phelps, whose quest for the silver bullet to success irresistibly leads him into a Faustian deal. He signs up to spend $1 million in seven days and have a camera crew follow him around for a week. They broadcast his adventures to a national audience, which assumes deadly voting rights.
In the first scene, Eldon meets producer Gina Yaweth at a bar in Leadville. She sells Eldon on her reality show, and he does what he wants amid a montage of live filming and previous footage flowed by Dougie, the lone cameraman. Along the way, we meet Roberta and Virgil Phelps, Eldon's family, his ex-girlfriend Christy, the religious young nurse Leon, and two good-time gals he meets on a trip to Disneyland.
A reviewer for the L.A. Splash says, "Coble's skillfully woven comedy is a humorous and thoughtful critique on society's obsession with other people's realities." Variety magazine adds, "Inspired and ruthless, Eric Coble has preempted the network vultures with ‘The Dead Guy.' "
BSC Theatre director Dan Rogers produces the show in collaboration with guest director Amber Rae Bernhardt, executive director of Dakota Stage Ltd., Bismarck's community theater. Bernhardt is a BSC graduate who performed in the BSC production of "Damn Yankees." She has a BFA degree in theater directing and performance from North Dakota State University. Bernhardt worked many years in arts management in Chicago, where she co-founded Backe Productions, as well as Theatre B in Fargo, N.D. Technical director is Dean Bellin, BSC assistant professor of technical theatre.
The nine-member cast stars Derek Pich as Eldon Phelps with Shaina Hovrud as Gina, the slippery TV producer. Both are from Mandan. Alex Johnson of Hazelton plays the cameraman, Dougie. Ashley Clooten of Bismarck is Christy Moline, Eldon's reluctant ex-girlfriend. Dakota Stein and Paul Murphy of Bismarck portray Roberta and Virgil Phelps. O'Shay Neal of Bismarck appears as the nurse Leon, and the good time women are played by Shaylee Meyer, Bismarck, and Amanda Pitzer of Mandan.
Reserved seat tickets are $10 or $3 with BSC I.D. and can be purchased at the Schafer Hall box office weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling 224-5511. ____________________________________________________________________________________________
About Bismarck State College Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities.