The Dead Guy: Reality TV's Final Hour

Although it started out harmlessly enough, Reality TV has taken over prime time television. Survival skills, marriage, talent, and beauty - it seems no topic is sacred. While Reality TV mocks our humanity, Eric Coble's The Dead Guy dares to expose the new fad as the TV industry's desperate attempt to keep Americans in front of the tube.

The play begins by painting a picture of the two main characters and how they interact: Gina, a Reality TV producer, and Eldon, the star of her grasping attempt to regain the ratings she lost with the failure of her most recent show. The new show is to be a spectacular, week-long whirlwind that will captivate the public and save Gina's job. Eldon - portrayed as the typical twenty-something male with no ambitions and no prospects - or a "loser," as Gina repeatedly points out - is offered the opportunity to spend a million dollars in a week's time, but in exchange he must agree to die at the end of the week in a manner chosen by the American public. Eldon is faced with the question of whether a week as a millionaire is worth more than a lifetime spent in poverty. Naturally, he chooses the condensed version.

Through skillfully woven comedy, Coble explores the experiences of a young man who has traded the rest of his life for fame and a bunch of money: the rejection of Eldon by his family and ex-girlfriend, the manipulations and betrayals of Gina as she strives to hold the public's favor, and the ensuing emotional ups and downs Eldon experiences. Despite the satire, however, sympathetic characters begin to emerge: the white trash family and ex-girlfriend rally behind Eldon as he shows signs of becoming a better person, and Gina's screen persona (reminiscent of Elizabeth Hurley's portrayal of the devil in Bedazzled) begins to slip as she struggles visibly with her part in Eldon's approaching demise.

Whether you are entertained or disgusted by the new fad on TV, Coble's The Dead Guy is a humorous and thoughtful critique on society's obsession with other people's realities. The play will be performed by the Curious Theatre Company, located at 1080 Acoma Street in Denver, through October 15, 2005. For more information, call (303) 623-0524 or visit The Dead Guy online.

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