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Houston Matters

A Different Kind Of Talk Show: Talk Radio At The MATCH

The cast of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company’s production of Talk Radio discusses how a play inspired by the media landscape of the 1980s still resonates today.

A scene from Dirt Dogs Theatre Company’s production of Talk Radio.

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Dirt Dogs Theatre Company is presenting a production of Talk Radio at the MATCH Aug. 24 through Sept. 8.

The show, written and originally starring Eric Bogosian, tells the story of Barry Champlain, a talk show host in Dallas whose acid-tongue alternately fascinates and reviles listeners.

The play takes place as Champlain's radio show is about to go nationwide. But his caustic wit catches up with him. It's loosely based on the true story of talk radio host Alan Berg, who was murdered in 1984.

In the audio above, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen talks with the director and cast of the Houston production about whether some of the language and style of this 1980's-era play still resonates with a 2018 audience who has cable news and social media contribute to our corrosive discourse.

And they discuss whether there's a lesson to be learned from this play about how we ought to treat one another — especially when we disagree.

  • Talk Radio Promotional Art (Photo Credit: Dirt Dogs Theatre Company)
    Talk Radio Promotional Art (Photo Credit: Dirt Dogs Theatre Company)
  • John Patterson, director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    John Patterson, director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • A scene from Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Dirt Dogs Theatre Company)
    A scene from Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Dirt Dogs Theatre Company)
  • The exterior of the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    The exterior of the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH). (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • Trevor Cone, the executive director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    Trevor Cone, the executive director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • Malinda Beckham is the artistic director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    Malinda Beckham is the artistic director of Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • Kevin Daugherty plays the lead role of caustic radio host Barry Champlain in Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    Kevin Daugherty plays the lead role of caustic radio host Barry Champlain in Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • The production crew for Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio checking lights and staging. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    The production crew for Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio checking lights and staging. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
  • The production crew for Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio checking lights and staging. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)
    The production crew for Dirt Dogs Theatre Company's production of Talk Radio checking lights and staging. (Photo Credit: Craig Cohen)