HARRISBURG - Any theatergoer who has seen "Talk Radio" will likely agree that this "biting comedy" is far more biting than comedic.
Open Stage of Harrisburg continues its run of Eric Bogosian's "Talk Radio" with 8 p.m. performances April 26 through 28 and May 3 through 5, with a 2 p.m. matinee today (with a post-performance discussion to follow) and April 27.
The finale of Open Stage's four show subscriptions, "Talk Radio" is staged in the intimate Angino Family Theatre, 223 Walnut St.
The show centers around shock jock Barry Champlain and chronicles the eve of his talk show being picked up for national syndication. Champlain, his producer and screener, deal with an array of callers, from the mentally deranged and teenager pranksters, to small-minded bigots and simply the lonely.
Playwright Bogosian played Barry Champlain when "Talk Radio" debuted Off-Broadway in 1987. A nominee for the Pulitzer Prize, the show made its Broadway debut in 2007 with Liev Schreiber playing the loathsome jock in the acclaimed revival. On the success of the revival, Bogosian said, " 'Talk Radio' kind of surprised people because it was revived 20 years after it was written and it felt fresh. But that's because I really don't write about topical stuff; I write about America's attitude, America's values, my values, my attitude. And to the degree that anyone sees things the way that I see things, they can relate."
Champlain's mounting troubles behind-the-scenes make him pounce upon and deride his callers with hard-edged cynicism and brutal honesty. Adding to the tension, his producer is afraid that he will say something that will offend the new sponsors.
"Talk Radio" is regarded as much as a performer's showcase as social commentary. An egocentric talker, Champlain chain smokes, slugs Johnny Walker and occasionally snorts, so he can keep on insulting the pathetic souls whose calls sound more desperate in the wee hours of the morning.
Open Stage's Executive Artistic Director Donald Alsedek, who directs this sharp-edged production, is using the revival's "new version," with additional dialogue and rewrites. With a cast of seven males and two females and off-stage voices, "Talk Radio" is recommended for mature audiences due to its strong language and crackling intensity.
For reservations, call 717-232-OPEN.
(6736) or visit www.openstagehbg.com.