& Balanced: A Play in One Act, and Other Short Works
by Brian Flemming
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(May 3, 2004)
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Brian Flemming, who co-wrote the Off-Broadway smash hit Bat Boy: The Musical, penned this
dark one-act comedy in which "Fair" and "Balanced" are prisoners held
an underground dungeon, and every night at 8 p.m. an imperious overseer
named Bill O'Reilly comes down into the dungeon to torture them.
But tonight is a special night. Tonight Bill O'Reilly makes a mistake,
and Fair and Balanced turn the tables on him. Now that their tormenter
is at their mercy, the former prisoners force him to stand trial. But
will Fair and Balanced do to Bill O'Reilly what he has done to them?
In answering this question with a resounding yes, Flemming gleefully
crosses just about every line with regard to taste and decency,
crafting Fair & Balanced
theatrical traditions of commedia
dell'arte and Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol. By turns
profane, eloquent, shocking and touching—and always hilarious—Fair & Balanced may just slice,
dice and chop its way into theater history and create a lasting comic
villain out of Bill O’Reilly. Or what is left of him.
Flemming plans to license the one-act comedy to as many theaters as
wish to perform it. His hit Bat Boy:
The Musical, which was termed "an instant classic" by the New
York Post, is ranked among the top ten most-produced plays of the
2002-2003 season, according to American
But you can enjoy this darkly funny work before it
comes to a theater near you. This Fair Use Press high-quality Adobe
Reader® edition of Fair
& Balanced includes the full script to the play, the sheet
to its one brief song ("Ampersand's Epiphany") as well as the following
additional nonfiction works by Flemming, which, like Fair &
Balanced, explore the effect of the right wing of U.S. politics on
the nation's culture:
Photo essay: Pro-War Demonstrators: "Theoretically, We Should Be
to Punch You in the Face"
This 35-page nonfiction photo essay is a revealing look at
confrontations between pro-war demonstrators and anti-war demonstrators
on Oscar night, March 23, 2003, outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Using rhetorical techniques apparently inspired by Fox News and other
fiery conservative news outlets, the fairly unbalanced pro-war
demonstrators scream insults such as "You're a fucking faggot!," shout
down all who disagree with them and carry signs reading, "Kill Them
and "Without Us, You'd Be Eating Sand." Flemming was in the fray with
the pro-warriors and documents his experience in words and pictures.
subtitle of the photo essay is based on a flyer that military-garbed
pro-war demonstrators were handing out to anti-war demonstrators. The
flyer read, simply, "Theoretically, we should be able to punch you in
the face and get away with it." This photo essay is a rare insight into
the street-level right-wing subculture, whose true face is rarely
displayed in the mainstream media.
Essay: Dementia Nine-Eleven
Flemming, who wrote daily commentary throughout the Iraq war at
Blogcritics.org, published this short essay the day after the statue of
Saddam Hussein fell in Baghdad. It takes as its premise that the United
States has been driven to insanity by the September 11 attacks and the
artful manipulation of the Bush Administration and its propaganda
and from there compares the United States with the tragic characters
Hamlet and Othello, who were also debilitated by madness and obsession.
Speech: Stump Speech
Flemming briefly ran for governor of California in July and August of
2003 with a platform—"If elected, I will resign"—that was intended to
subvert the attempted recall of Governor Gray Davis. He wrote this
speech but never had the opportunity to deliver it to an audience. (See
"About the Author" below for details on Flemming's run for governor.)
Revised editions of Fair & Balanced are
free to First Edition buyers: Purchase of this First Edition Fair
& Balanced Adobe Reader book entitles the purchaser to free
downloads of subsequent Fair Use Press e-book editions of the play.
here to see sample pages from Fair & Balanced.
reviews and articles
All Facts and Opinions
Writer Natalie Davis on the story behind Fair & Balanced.
"[Author Brian Flemming is] describing Fair & Balanced as 'vicious,
profane, and written in the spirit of commedia
dell'arte, which often mixes the scatological, the violent, the
broadly comedic and the political.' Now aren't you, too, intrigued?"
Short mention by political blogger Atrios with a comments thread. Also,
later, channeling Bill O'Reilly on Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day: "Some
third-rate hollywood hack has gone and put me in a play. You don't have
the right to steal my identity, pal. This is nothing short of
Aren't we taking this whole first amendment business just a little bit
too far? First it was that damn internet where, would you believe
it, anyone can just say anything they want to? And now these
are following right along. I remember when plays were good family
entertainment, and not this political sex-filled hogwash. What's
wrong with nice, simple, entertaining stories that the whole family can
love? If they were good enough for Shakespeare, they should be good
enough for this, whats-his-name, Flemming degenerate..." [more,
Article by Fair & Balanced
author Brian Flemming in which he explains why he wrote the play.
"That play made my night. I am stuck in a hotel on
a consulting gig and was bored out of my mind till I read this. Now I
can't stop laughing or get the image of [plot spoiler deleted] outta my
"Just read F&B and am
laughing my fat ass off. The pro-war protestors thing was so scary I
think I'll be having nightmares about it."
"This was a great premise that degraded into very graphic material in
the climax (pardon the pun), rendering an interesting, funny and well
written script completely unusable for my theater, even in our
"Downloaded it. Printed it. Read it. Thought about it. Loved it.
Thought about it some more. Really loved it!"
Brian Flemming co-wrote (with Keythe Farley and composer Laurence
O'Keefe) the off-Broadway hit Bat Boy: The Musical,
which won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts
and Letters, the Lucille Lortel Best Musical Award, the Outer Critics
Circle Best Musical Off-Broadway Award, and eight Drama Desk
nominations. Bat Boy is
published by Dramatists Play Service, with a cast album on RCA/Victor,
and is currently playing in regional
productions throughout the United States.
Flemming has a parallel career as an independent filmmaker. He most
recently wrote and directed the feature film Nothing So Strange, a faux
documentary about the assassination of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates,
which won the 2002 New York Times
Claiborne Pell Award for Original Vision at the Newport International
Film Festival and has played at film festivals throughout the U.S. and
Europe. Nothing So Strange
be released in theaters in Fall 2003.
Flemming recently ran for governor
of California, with the simple platform, "If elected, I will resign."
Covered by National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News, Flemming's
candidacy was intended to put Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante effectively on
the recall ballot at a time when no major Democrat was in the running.
Flemming, a Democrat, terminated his candidacy when Bustamante himself
entered the race at the last minute.
Flemming maintains a daily personal weblog.
of the author's prior work
About the stage play Bat Boy: The Musical:
"It's remarkable what intelligent wit can accomplish. A jaggedly
imaginative mix of skewering humor and energetic glee."
--New York Times
"Smart, playful and funny. A giggling cult hit."
--The New Yorker
"Bat Boy soars. An instant classic."
--New York Post
--New York Daily News
"A tour de force. Immensely satisfying."
"The show is sick, twisted, over the top, and--if you like that sort of
thing--possibly as entertaining as anything you've recently seen
"Bat Boy: The Musical easily
ranks as one of the best shows of the year."
"A clamorous, thigh-smacking, groundbreaking musical."
--New Times L.A.
About the film Nothing So Strange:
"The film itself is more than just a novel premise, going off in myriad
unexpected directions and setting something of a high bar for the
mockumentary subgenre. It may be the ideal prototype film for the
"Nothing So Strange
is pitch perfect. See this film."
"A brilliant, one-of-a-kind
"A genre-bending experience."
--New York Post
"Is this art or junk?"
--Fox News Channel
"It is very disappointing that a movie maker would do something like
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