First produced by Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago in 2003.
Fiona Kathy Logelin
Connor Jim Slonina
Veronica Meghan McDonough
Omar Ansa Akyea
Chloe Beth Lacke
Raymond Bradley Balof
Billy Brad Eric Johnson
Harvey Rom Barkhordar
Mark Joe Dempsey
Stephanie Lisa Rothschiller
Characters (All early-to-mid-30s)
The Cast Regulars
Mark: The Neurotic New Yorker. He’s a paramedic.
Chloe: The Spoiled Rich Girl. She’s a curtain designer.
Billy: The Sex-Crazed Dummy. He’s a model.
Fiona: The New Age Hippie. She’s an acupuncturist.
Stephanie: The Controlling Wife. She’s a romance novelist.
The Guest Spots
Harvey: He’s a doctor in the navel reserves.
Raymond: He’s a drag queen/cabaret singer.
Veronica: She’s an Australian dog shusherer.
Omar: He’s a non-Caucasian PhD student.
Director: Jeremy B. Cohen
Scenic Design: Brian Sidney Bembridge
Costume Design: Rachel Healy
Lighting Design: Jaymi Lee Smith
Sound Design: Andre Pluess
Publication: Elyanow, Michael. The Idiot Box. Samuel French, 2008. Drama Library PS3605. L93 I35 2008.
Setting: New York City, winter, the living room of a split-level penthouse suite.
Language: Contemporary sitcom
Toast. What A Slice of Toast Might Say. Since when does a hooker ever say “My crust is turning brown?” Never. A hooker never says that.
Genre/Style: The first act, according to the playwright, should play like a great modern sitcom; the second act should be more gritty, honest, and real. However, one problem with the play is that the regulars in the first act are, for the most part, annoying and not very likeable and the situations they find themselves in are so farcical that by the time the second act arrives, it’s difficult to make the transition to caring about them as “real people” with “real problems.” Another problem with the play is the plethora of problems they face, from strange boyfriends with chubby chasing tendencies, emergent homosexual feelings, racism, social consciousness, etc.
Plot: The play tells the story of six sitcom characters whose lives are changed when reality crashes into their perfect world.
Representative Monologues: (Long monologues contain the first few lines and the last few lines; please consult the published text for the monologue in its entirety.)
p. 27: Omar tries to explain to Chloe why he felt the need to find her and leave her a letter.
…I’m sorry. I’m gonna. Sorry.
He exits. But just as CHLOE is about to close the door:
No, wait. Please. The thing is. I was watching the play and somewhere toward the end of the first act I happened to take my eyes off the stage for a second and…I saw you sitting across from me and you were so completely “in it”, I mean, leaning forward, tears in your eyes, you know, and I was thinking, Yes! [Lines cut] You must be the most extraordinary person. And I must be a complete idiot for talking all this time and not introducing myself. Omar Jackson. Blabbermouth.
p. 36: Fiona defends herself against Harvey’s charge that she only pretends to be a hippie so that her friends will like her and explains to him just what she’s gotten out of being a hippie.
Okay. Stop. I’m gonna stop you right there. You know, just because we went out a few times, don’t presume you know me and don’t presume I don’t know what I’m doing. [Lines cut] I haven’t had to pay for anything—quite literally—since I was TWELVE. That’s what being a so-called flighty, wind-in-her-hair-hippie has gotten me.
p. 61-62: Stephanie’s on the phone talking to her hero, LaVyrle Spencer about her writer’s block. (A very long monologue, at least 2 minutes.)
Hello? HellomMYGODhello! I’ve been on hold so long I wasn’t sure if I got disconnected but I don’t think I did if this is you, LaVyrle, IS this you, LaVyrle, do you mind if I call you LaVyrle? Um,oh, it’s me, Ms. Spencer: Stephanie Dah. No-no-no-no, don’t hang up! [Lines cut] I write about Love. I need Love. And if [I] give that up, if I give up Love… I have no husband, no marriage, no career, and then what? What am I left with? What the fuck do I have then, LaVyrle?
p. 35-37: Harvey and Fiona argue in a subway car. Starts with
You feel sorry for me?
and ends with
Oh, Harvey. FUCK OFF.
p. 41-44: Billy accuses Raymond of trying to seduce him by pretending to be something he’s not: a woman. Starts with
What did you do to me?
and ends with
What are you?
p. 62-64: Chloe and Omar confront each other about the fact that Omar has accepted a job in Berkeley without telling Chloe but Chloe found out and is looking for a job on the West Coast, hoping he’ll take her with him. Stars with
It’s not what you think.
and ends with
I didn’t think you’d say yes. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little… I’m far from perfect. That’s just me. Sometimes I do, I get scared and I make mistakes. Does that sound like something you could be a part of?
Select Bibliography of Reviews and Criticism: (Note: article title links are to the online versions, mostly UW-only restricted unless designated as open access.)
Houlihan, M. (2003, May 9). “More than just ‘Friends’ – Typical sitcom characters get dose of reality from playwright in ‘The Idiot Box’.” Chicago Sun-Times 9; nc.
Chris Jones, T.,arts reporter. (2003, May 25). `The idiot box’ needs fine-tuning. Chicago Tribune.
Rosell, K. (2011, April 18). The Idiot Box opens at CSUF. Daily Titan, The: California State University – Fullerton (CA) n.pag.
Street, N. (2007, August 3). Bipolar Express: ‘Idiot Box’ takes a trip. Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, The (CA) n.pag.
Zeff, D. (2003, June 5). Theater Review – `The Idiot Box’: A misguided event. Beacon News, The (Aurora, IL) E6.