Two old grumpy Polish ladies, Lottie and Bernice, become trapped in a television studio by a blizzard and end up taking over Western New York’s favorite morning show “Buffalo Yak.” Well, they do have some help. Two constantly bickering janitors, Hal and Sal, agree to handle the editorials while Candy Bickel, a wildly ambitious station intern who sees the blizzard as her break into media stardom, takes over the news desk. Neurotic program director Virgil Mooch tries to help, despite the fact that being on-camera makes him throw up. Lloyd Block, the station manager, struggles to hold everything together, while at the same time drowning his sorrows because of his deteriorating domestic situation. Things get much worse as the audience witnesses the funniest bad TV ever broadcast, highlighted by calls from listeners who are answered, “You are on the air with the Lottie & Bernice Show. What’s your beef?”
PLAYWRIGHT L. DON SWARTZ TALKS ABOUT
“THE LOTTIE & BERNICE SHOW”
(Don is the Artistic Director of the Ghostlight Theatre
in North Tonawanda, NY.)
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: The faithful audience members of my theatre loved the Lottie and Bernice characters from “Here We Sit” (also published by Eldridge) and demanded that I give the two ladies their own show. Like all theatres, we love our audience and I was only too happy to oblige. In response, the audience turned “The Lottie & Bernice Show” into the biggest box office hit in our theatre’s long history!
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: I love the phone-in segments of the TV show, “What’s Your Beef, Buffalo?” As a playwright it gave me the opportunity to bring any and all issues to Lottie and Bernice’s attention and allow them to share their wisdom on each.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: The characters are people I know or have known throughout my life. There is something very unique about Buffalonians. We are tough (have to be to survive the weather and the job market) and we share a bizarre sense of humor that I tried really hard to bring to light with these characters.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: To show what it is like to love living in Buffalo. Nationally we are known only for our sports teams, snow and chicken wings. Beyond that we are a quirky, feisty people, often with an ice chip on our shoulder and a laugh-out-loud sense of humor. I want the rest of the country to know that about us, and ultimately to know that we are just like everyone else.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: One of my favorite things in the world is the sound of an audience laughing. Really laughing hard. With our sold-out crowds, night after night, the ushers told us, that while they were in the lower lobby, you could actually feel the building shake with laughter. I will never forget the experience.