by: JK Clarke
Where do desperate American families turn when all seems lost and families are so dysfunctional they’ve resorted to drugs, alcohol, video games, extra-marital affairs and daytime television as their only means of connection? Why reality TV, of course!
The Morons, now playing at The Cell theater as part of Origin’s 1st Irish Festival 2013, is a satirical look at an Anywhere, America family, one even more ruined than The Westons of August: Osage County. Mother (Barbara Suter) watches telenovelas in Spanish all day though she doesn’t speak the language — and why should it matter, she’s completely soused; Father (Steve Hayes) is distraught and broke; and Billy (Timothy Mullins) is so distanced from reality by his immersion in video games and the Internet that he’s lost the ability to speak at any comprehensible level (and has been engaging in unspeakable acts with the neighbor’s dog).
But wait! Father finds an opportunity! There is a call for submissions for a new Reality TV series, The Morons, which will be a live examination of a ridiculous All-American Family. Their video auditions unite and excite them. They want to be on TV! Why wouldn’t America want to watch them?
Failing to make the cut at first, Father goes to extreme measures to get on the show and he succeeds. But at what cost. The Morons is a study of how far and how off the rails a miserable family will go for fame and recognition. Each limit set is pushed farther and farther back.
Playwright Dan McCormick’s cynical and jaded view of the desperate American family seems too far-fetched at first blush. But he reminds us of the countless (truly countless) number of completely absurd reality programs that are already a part of our vernacular. Can his vision really be that far off? It’s occasionally funny and biting commentary, but with perhaps too many elements of truth. One can’t help but leave the theater shaking one’s head in amazement and sadness.
The Morons. Directed by Christopher Scott. Through September 29 at The Cell Theater. www.themorons.net