Monday, March 1, 2010

Fiction by J. Weller

By Joe Straw

Fiction is a story about a man whose life is ruined by the utterance of a simple word: “No.” This is a roller coaster night of an evening, a mind bending, and twisted tale of morality. The story of a life force that is savagely squeezed like an orange until the remains are like the drained pulp left in the empty orange hull. Run to catch this production, hold your breath, and tell yourself, screaming silently (if you must): “It’s fiction! It’s fiction! It’s fiction!”

Fiction is new world premier play written by J. Weller and directed by Michael Galloway and is playing at the beautiful Conquistador Playhouse in Hollywood.

Fiction starts innocently enough. Flame Ohn (Michael Staraton) is a 31-year-old highly successful profession basketball player. Flame is the quintessential boy next door by way of Myanmar and the son of a career military officer and a Burmese father. A man of unquestionable ability, he is a superstar in the sport. Flame also has a ten million dollar smile, and an eighty million dollar contract with endorsements galore. He is also fluent in seven languages.

Flame waits in his luxury hotel room for the next game voraciously squeezing the last drop out of an orange when he receives a call from a business associate, Radical Dave (Frederick Ongonyon).

“We’re probably not going to make your payroll this quarter and may not make it completely in the years to come.”

Getting to the point Radical Dave suggests Flame’s agent renegotiate his contract until the company gets back on its feet. But, “I need your help.”

“Why am I talking to you? My agent negotiates on my behalf. Tell me who asked you to call me."

“I can’t.”

“You can!”

“Take the deal. Times are tough. When we weather this storm we’ll all come out looking better. Do it for me, our friendship, please.”


Flame gets back on the phone but is interrupted by a knock at the door. It is two ravishing buxom beauties Jennifer Righteous (Wanda McGreevy) and her friend Heather Simpleton (Mary Slate). Looking at his phone he finds himself in a dilemma: business or pleasure? He chooses the later and they waste no time taking off his clothes and hustling him off to bed.

The phone rings. It is is wife Eve (Michelle Fontura) who is sitting in the audience watching the action as she is carrying on the conversation. Flame is as non-chalant as anyone could be in this situation, taking the phone call while there is mayhem going on all around him. (This is so funny the audience died.) Eve leaves the theater as she is carrying on the conversation.

The phone beeps and “I’ve got to take this call. I’ll call you back.” Flame gets out of bed leaving the women to their own devices. Simpleton pulls out her video camera from her bag and starts production of the two of them in bed.

Flame in the meantime, talking to his agent Guy (Ernie Camaraderie), is seen in the video holding his privates walking back and forth shouting expletives. (Certainly not the picture of the boy next door.) Guy tells him it’s all a misunderstanding and he will set the course on the right track.

Finished, Flame throws the phone into bed and shouts his trademark “Flame on”.

A cat and mouse game ensues. As Flame is occupied with Righteous, Simpleton takes her camera and puts it into her bag. Righteous keeps one eye on Simpleton and one on Flame. When Simpleton goes to the bathroom Righteous takes the camera out of her bag and places it into hers. (Why does this always happen to celebrities!?)

Righteous then goes into the bathroom. Simpleton coming out asks Flame for a few dollars for carfare.


Simpleton, slightly hurt, tells Righteous she’ll meet her down in the lobby.

Righteous walks over to Flame and apologizes for not finishing what she started. She says she’s getting married. “This is probably the last time you see me. Take care. I will always love you.”

Flame thows the empty orange half at her backside.

On his way to the game Flame chats on camera with sportswriter Carson Fearsom (Andrew Nurotie) about Andre “The Great ” (a European All Star Power Forward) Fearsome says, “Andre wants to put the Flame out tonight. And to show no hard feelings Andre has invited Flame to join him for chicken wings at his favorite restaurant, KFC.” Magnanimously Flame states Andre has used an unfortunate choice of words and that he will take the high road on this one, besides no one puts out “The Flame – Flame on, baby!”

In the meantime Radical Dave and Stuart Nengale (Arthur Sandbar) are having a conversation in a room very similar to Flames. Nengale tells Radical Dave that negotiations have stalled, lawyers are threatening to sue, fights for years to come. And it is here we find that Radical Dave has taken over “You’re First” a multibillion-dollar insurance company.

Radical Dave hands Nengale a packet of information and tells him to distribute the information to his sources. Nengale says the press will be notified; the sources are confirmed and the recipients are salivating.

Radical Dave laughs at the fact they will get Flame at bargain basement price. “If we decide we want him at all. It’s a short matter of time before the public is outraged and “ moral” clause will be invoked. “He’s had his piece of the pie. It’s time for somebody else to eat.”

Nengale walks out of the hotel room as Guy walks in, all smiles. Radical Dave passes an envelope to Guy. Guy smiles and leaves when Simpleton and Righteous arrive. Simpleton is carrying a baseball bat.

While talking to the girls, Radical puts a move on the girls and then pulls out a couple of more envelopes and hands it to the women. Righteous, counting it, tells Radical that he has shortchanged her. Simpleton throws the money back into his face and holds the bat on her shoulders.

Radical Dave takes the money and gives it back saying they are both in this already. “Short change? – Rough economy!” Besides Righteous will need it when she finds out her bi-sexual fiancé is cheating on her.

Simpleton swings her bat into the lampshade. Simpleton tells him that maybe he doesn’t want the “pudding proof” we have.

Righteous suggests Radical Dave he can have the video rights for twenty grand.

Simpleton informs Righteous to mind her own business and they subsequently fight over the camera in her purse. And as they are doing so Radical Dave shouts $5,000, $7,000, $9,000 etc., and as they are fighting Righteous falls over the bed and Simpleton takes her bag and start beating it with a bat.

Righteous composes herself and tells Simpleton, “It’s the wrong bag.” She hands Radical Dave the camera. Righteous takes the envelope splits the money in half.

Meanwhile, Flame is holding a bucket of KFC wings inside the bus. 6’ 11” Andre “The Great” (Darin Bell) walks in, looks at him, laughs, and takes a wing. Flame says “I know you don’t like it hot. Here’s a wet napkin. I got you 40 wings one for each point I scored on you tonight.” They sit and have a couple of wings discussing fame and fortune as they come to know it when Carson Fearsom interrupts Flame to tell him there’s a story out on him on the AP newswire.

Flame pulls out his iphone and finds the story as Carson is repeatedly asking questions: Is it true?

“It’s Fiction.” Flame says.

Flame takes his iphone and starts texting everyone he knows including his press people. The messages appear on the wall as he texts and sends. He runs to his hotel room to see Simpleton and Righteous coming out. He pushes them into the room, claiming “It’s Fiction! It’s Fiction!” and as he does this he looks at the big screen to see his body beaming out to the world as he is shouting obscenities! It’s Fiction!

This is an amazing cast. Flawless in execution and motion. They are always keeping you on your toes as to what they will do next. Morals are thrown out the window and objectives keep you guessing until the final twisting conclusion.

J. Weller has written a play that explains a core of the human condition. Explorations of a life maybe ripped off of the headlines of today. If fact chose your professional sport, those people are not hard to find or suspend when life choices take them in a direction they may not want to explore.

Galloway’s direction of this cast is pretty amazing. It’s not often you see this kinds of cast with raw sexual emotions displayed in full glory.

No one under 18 will be admitted (expect to be carded) and no one over 18 with strong moral convictions will be admitted as well. (Not sure how they are going to enforce this.)

It’s Fiction! Fiction.

Copyright 2010.

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