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(c) 1998 Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc.

A play by Albert Fried-Cassorla

Detailed Synopsis

Act One: Phil Manzone, infomercial executive par excellence and wonderkind of the industry, has recently had a few bad turns. As the play opens, he is desperately trying to keep revenues flowing from his latest venture, and customers satisfied. These people have purchased BluesBlockers, sunglasses which Manzone's firm claims cure depression. (Throughout the play, the question of whether BluesBlockers actually work is explored in many ways.)

Phil's Assistant Jerry tries to follow Phil's wishes, but often misinterprets them, to Phil's frustration. Phil's girlfriend and co-producer, Stephanie Winston, compliments Phil and attempts to sexually excite him. He partially responds, preoccupied as he is with his business. His Japanese creditors are threatening to shut down his operation. Representing the creditors is Kenny Tsai, who shows up in Phil's office for a threatening encounter. He demands that Phil show a substantial profit in an impossibly short time.

Phil's daughter Kari shows up in the middle of all of this. She is having a personal crisis in the aftermath of a failed romance. She is adamant: she must have her father's attention NOW. He had not "been there" for here when she was growing up. This is his chance to redeem himself in her eyes. A vacation with her in Europe will enable her to sort things out. Phil demurs.



Kari becomes irate and takes out her frustrations on him and on Stephanie, whom she resents as a poor replacement for her Mom. Also, Kari heatedly challenges the authenticity of BluesBlockers and of infomercials. Phil defends both passionately, and also rises lyrically to proclaim that his industry speaks to a kind of poetry of human aspiration. None of this washes with Kari, who declines his offer to manage a new Michelle Pfeiffer Skin Care line of cosmetics.

At the end of Act One, Phil leaves the office, frustrated and nearly defeated. Jerry stays behind. Phil appears to Jerry in a vision, inspiring his protégé and giving voice to his self-vision as the Great Salesman who is also a poet of the soul.

In a different scene, Stephanie climaxes on stage in a solo moment of inspiration while wearing her BluesBlockers.


Act Two: It is the day of the shooting of the new infomercial for BluesBlockers, on a set at a beachfront along the river in Philadelphia. The taping occurs in real time, with callers-in and live testimonials. Kari and Stephanie smolder. The infomercial-within-the-play offers a comical mini-satire on the genre.

Kenny Tsai shows up and closes the production down. Phil falls apart -- his life's earnings and ego are embedded in this venture. Stephanie and Kari force Phil to decide his next step: launch a new life and company with Stephanie; or go to Italy with his daughter, help her sort her life out, and get in touch with his family. Phil chooses… and reveals his values at that key moment in his tumultuous life.