'Talk Show' audience joins spoof for a play of uncertain length

October 01, 1993|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Staff Writer

How many times have we found ourselves talking back to a talk show, knowing darn well nobody's listening but the dog?

"I bet every one of us has seen a talk show and wanted to raise our hand and ask a question like, 'How could you have been so stupid?' " says Mike Easterling.

For frustrated fans of TV talk shows, the WJZ-TV program manager offers a little comic relief in the form of a play he's written, "Talk Show."

"It's a spoof on the television talk show genre and it's interactive," Mr. Easterling says. "The audience in the theater becomes the audience of the talk show."

Mr. Easterling's first play will debut at the Encore Theatre, 4801 Liberty Heights Ave., this weekend.

"He submitted it as a work-in-progress, and I thought it was good," says artistic director Belva Scott, who chooses the plays for the theater. "Also, we devote a portion of every season to new playwrights. I'm a firm believer that playwrights need to see their work performed."

The play involves on-stage and behind-the-scene happenings of the fictitious "Hope Williams Show."

It was written to run 90 minutes, but could last longer. In fact, Mr. Easterling is not sure what he and the audience will end up seeing.

"It does have a beginning, middle and an end," he says. But the outcome may vary from show to show, depending on the degree of audience participation.

Mr. Easterling won't give away the discussion topic on the "Hope Williams Show." But expect it, he says, to be as racy and zany as topics on Oprah, Geraldo and Sally Jesse Raphael.

"It is an adult topic," is all the playwright will say. "It's outlandish and as funny as some of the topics on the real talk shows."

"Talk Show" will be performed at 8 p.m. today through Sunday and Oct. 8 through 10; call (410) 466-2433 for ticket information.

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