Scott Machado plays the main character Barry Champlain. Photo by LifeSlice Photography.

Broadcast on Blast

VLT presents a controversial play based on a radio show set in the late ’80s

Dramatic and compelling describes this almost one-act play coming to town. Talk Radio opens this weekend Feb. 23 and runs through Mar. 10 at Very Little Theatre. Inspiration for this play is derived loosely from radio host Alan Berg’s confrontational interviews. Picture a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio in 1987. This play explores the danger and power that come with the age of broadcast media. It’s a deep-dive story about Barry Champlain (Scott Machado) talking to voices in his head and to callers. “He sort of disintegrates before our eyes as he becomes overwhelmed by all the pressure he’s under,” says Paul Rhoden, director of Talk Radio. “This is a guy who defines himself and his whole value as a human being from his relationship with his audience.” With five other actors on stage and eight ensemble members taking calls, the story of one night unfolds. Callers and Champlain use mature language and discuss topics such as race, gender, drug abuse, suicide and more sensitive subject matter. Before the show, Eric Richardson will play a standup bass for half an hour with sounds of jazz and soul. For 100 minutes straight and no intermission, this crew has put their own creative spin on the play. Eric Bogosian and Tad Savinar created Talk Radio back in 1988. On opening night, special guest Savinar will attend the show and stay for a Q & A afterward. “I hope people would appreciate this as a contrarian work of art,” Rhoden says. “It’s not there to make you feel warm and fuzzy all the time. Sometimes it’s to make us wrestle with our own thoughts and prejudices.”

Talk Radio is 7:30 pm Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 2 pm Sunday, Feb. 25 at Very Little Theatre’s Stage Left, 2350 Hilyard St. Tickets are $22 Friday and Saturday. A waitlist is available for Sunday at