Theater archives

Face Value


In Billboard, Andy Price (Ken Matthews) uses corporate marketing practices to his advantage and sells his forehead to the highest bidder, allowing the logo for an electronic-music company to be tattooed there. If he keeps the tattoo for a year, his money problems are solved. In their place, however, come an escalating series of personal crises. His artist girlfriend Katelyn (Sarah K. Lippmann) can’t believe that he’s done this without first discussing it with her, and so she mounts (literally) a revenge campaign, using Andy in an art installation. As days go by, Andy’s sanity begins to unravel.

Michael Vukadinovich’s play, based— frighteningly—on actual events, should be an incisive indictment of America’s blasé attitude toward corporate advertising and product placement. Unfortunately, his approach is too diffuse and the play too overextended to have any impact. While Katelyn rails against Andy’s actions and he staunchly defends his decision, his best friend (Joey Piscopo) rants about the war in Iraq and about environmental issues. Further, Vukadinovich takes on broadcast journalism in several unsuccessful cartoonish scenes where Andy appears before the media. Taken separately, all aspects of Billboard amuse and the performers appeal. One simply wishes that the play were more precisely targeted—like the tattooed logo itself.