by Zach Raffio. @zachraffio.
VANCOUVER - Area man Chucky Letterman answered a call from his cable company with apprehension this morning, unsure if the call was an elaborate, immersive audio play that breaks down the wall between performer and audience in new, thrilling ways, or just a call about cable stuff, the suspicious citizen confirmed.
“The last year has created so many innovative theatre forms, there’s no way to tell whether or not this is one of those,” noted Letterman, while drafting a BroadwayWorld message board review of the experience just in case. “It sounded like the rep was reading off of a script - formally introducing herself, mentioning their latest discounts, letting me know the call would be recorded for ‘quality assurance’. That probably just means they’re recording it for a streaming service.”
The confusion was only escalated as the representative, Marleen Genter, received a text from her brother that the power was out in their house, adding a layer of meaty drama to her end of the conversation. We caught up with Genter - who suspiciously has a theatre degree from the University of Maryland - for her take on the “theatre vs. just cable stuff” discourse.
“I was honestly just doing my job, but the text from my brother did have a typo in it, and he’s an english teacher… so that got me thinking… what if this is the immersive play?” questioned Genter, marking her call script with a red pen and post-it notes. “If all of this is an experimental play, then it’s the highest paying acting gig I’ve ever had.”
Cable company director of operations Patricia Nellop, however, was quick to shut down a production that The New York Times called “either the most thrilling, slice-of-life new play in recent memory, or just a call about a free month of Showtime”.
“Of course it was just business as usual. Claiming that our customer outreach service is some strange audio play is ludicrous, insulting, and baseless... unless, well.... I mean my job title is ‘director’,” claimed Nellop, paying just a little more attention where the furniture is placed in the company’s break room. “I should probably call a tech rehears- uh, I mean, staff meeting, to discuss this just in case. Everybody take five and do remember to stretch.”
At press time, Letterman decided to add the full ESPN package to his cable plan even though he doesn’t watch sports, as he wanted to see where this brought the story arc, and how Marleen manages this sale in the face of her power outage news. Marleen - now wearing a full face of stage makeup and a lapel mic - was seen giving an emotional plea to an area woman to add some extra cooking channels to her package, while Nellop was seen chain smoking in the back. The production is set to close as soon as corporate gets a few more complaints about representatives using vibrato.
This article was a play by the way.