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HotCity Theatre Embraces The Bite Of 'Reality'

HotCity Theatre's 'Reality'
HotCity Theatre

The HotCity Theatre will close with a bit of "Reality."

“Reality” by playwright Lia Romeo is a dark comedy that goes behind the scenes of the reality TV show “Looking for Love.” The play opens with a proposal, then the reality show cast is secreted away for several weeks while the rest of the world catches up with the show, one episode at a time.

“These characters are interesting that Lia put together because everybody’s sort of in it for a totally different reason,” actress Maggie Conroy told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. Conroy plays Annie, an All-American girl who “wins” the reality show competition.

“You are putting people in a very heightened circumstance — going on a reality show and having your whole life stripped away, and that is your reality for however long. Then the cameras go away and you’re left with your life again, which is completely different than it was before you went on the show,” she said.

What’s real in those different levels of reality? Not the television version, said actor Ben Nordstrom, who plays a television producer in “Reality.”

“A lot of it these days is even scripted, and if it’s not scripted, it’s very arranged and set up and they know how to get what they want,” he said.

“I think it’s fascinating and awful,” Conroy said of reality TV shows. “You see these people get on the show and watch them become almost brainwashed to a certain degree of what they’re being told, and told to say, and told to do. It makes for fascinating television.”

And, managing director Bess Moynihan hopes, a fascinating play.

“I think we’ve done a really good job of going beyond the play to make a statement about reality and how that affects us today,” she said.

HotCity Theatre, which was formed with the 2004 merger of the Hothouse Theatre Co. and City Theatre, will close in December when “Reality” closes. Moynihan said running the company is a lot of work, but has not been a full-time job for the people behind it, calling it a “hobby job.” She said she’s most proud of the risks the company has taken over the past 10 years.

“We did it our way, no matter what anyone said,” she said.

Related Event


  • When: Dec. 5-20, 2014
  • Where: Black Box Theatre at the Kranzberg Art Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.