“Inspired by a true, little-known story about the making of an iconic TV commercial in which a legendary film director puts a movie star’s life
in the hands of a very jittery props guy. A humorous and ultimately disturbing account of power in the workplace, “Gumballs” examines how truth is negotiated in both art and in life, and who gets to control the narrative in an
increasingly divided society.”
Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson
All scripts are sent in the form of a PDF. You may request a reading copy. No performance may take place without a licence.
Licences include unlimted printing rights.
The cost of a single script purchase will be refunded if you produce the play at a future date
Please complete a licence application form for a quotation and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A licence must be obtained before rehearsals begin and payment is due three weeks before the first performance
Reading copies which include a substantial part of the script are available in the form of a PDF upon request
In the event of a cancellation of a performance you may apply to Silver Birchington Plays for a refund.
There will be an administration fee of £20
KEN, 40s, special effects master
ROB, 30s, effects best boy
JENNY, 20s, entry-level props person
ALICE, 40s, first assistant director
LUKE WILSON, 38, spokesperson, movie star
ERROL MORRIS, 62, documentary film director
"The playwright Rob Ackerman used to work as a prop guy for TV ads, and he based this comedy on an all too true event: the day in January, 2010, when the documentarian Errol Morris instructed him to drop dozens of big red gumballs on the actor Luke Wilson for a terrible A.T. & T. spot. Directed with a gently surreal touch by Theresa Rebeck, the actors impersonating the celebrities are delightful: Jonathan Sale’s Wilson is paunchy and aloof, and David Wohl’s Morris is an offhand megalomaniac. But it’s the crew members whose perspectives make the premise of this show so weirdly engrossing. Ackerman is interested in big ideas—especially the three-way war between lowly workers, the creative “genius,” and the corporate machine—which is one of the best jokes here: to load such heavy stuff onto such an absurd frame." https://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/theatre/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson-07-01-19
“Hot ticket 'Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson' delivers everything it promises." https://nypost.com/2019/06/27/how-gumballs-luke-wilson-and-a-phone-ad-morphed-into-a-quirky-play/
"The cherry-red gumballs are fat round orbs, jumbo size, and if you drop them from a height onto an unyielding surface — a soundstage floor, say, or a movie star’s skull — some will split wide open, their dry white guts bared." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/theater/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson-review.html
"Mr. Ackerman and Ms. Rebeck have built a play that thrives on vacillating between tension and comedy, living somewhere in between the audience’s conscious of comfortable backstage drama and biting political commentary on existing power structures. Theresa's Rebeck's dazzling directorial debut is riveting from beginning to end." https://apple.news/AKVWHiZRIQ2KAZ__uGIKOZA
"A deftly-acted, ingeniously directed, and deliciously meta frolic around the set of an iconic TV commercial...If you’re either Luke Wilson or Errol Morris you might have a problem with this play. Everyone else is in for a treat...If you’re like me and you have a few screws loose in a good way, you’ll appreciate the whimsically offbeat tone Ackerman and Rebeck have created here...Ackerman’s droll script finds unexpected depths in its disturbing account of power in the workplace." https://theaterthatmatters.com/2019/06/18/you-should-definitely-give-dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilsonshead-a-shot/ PRESS
"Rebeck keeps Ackerman’s hilarious script moving at a spritely pace. Her uniformly talented cast is one to admire...A hugely amusing and thought-provoking tale that truly pops." https://thebroadwayblog.com/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson-review/
"I laughed because this conflict is so familiar to me having been an actor on commercial sets and it is certainly too late to cry. My husband, my date, laughed because surely this is just a fun exaggeration, right?...The casting of this show is deliciously perfect. I’m sucked in and the familiar anxiety arises within me because the characters are true to life...Get your skates on. Go see this one before it disappears." https://thefrontrowcenter.com/2019/06/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson/
“An excellent production...Rebeck deftly balances the comic lunacy with the play’s mounting moral stakes. Rebeck and the performers effectively mine the laughs from the ludicrous circumstances without overselling the characters’ quirkiness." https://www.offoffonline.com/offoffonline/2019/6/14/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson
"A play which is true to the vision and mission of the company. Stories reflect a diverse population the working majority, acknowledging their complexity...by creating theater of interest to working people...Ackerman brings the realities of unscrupulous authorities in the work place to our attention in a mode that approaches theater of the absurd...Be prepared to chuckle, but the message here is one which resonates beyond the 'set.'" https://www.berkshirefinearts.com/06-20-2019_dropping-gumballs-a-world-premiere.htm
"While the outpouring of emotion in the script must have been derived from Ackerman’s years as the Prop Master for SNL Film Unit, what is remembered is the humor, and the desire to turn the document of a day into an interactive experience...Funny, yet tragic...A must see for theater folks, with friends in the film and television industry.” http://www.theaterpizzazz.com/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilso
“The play is directed by Theresa Rebeck in her NY directorial debut and it is superb. She gets the most out of this talented group of actors, all who are at the top of their game...Ackerman’s dialogue is snide, insightful and whip smart." https://t2conline.com/dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson-or-corporate-takeover/
"The play, which includes Dean Nolen as the veteran props master who builds the rig that drops the gumballs, and Reyna de Courcy, the only woke cast member who rails against what she hears, kept the audience in stitches for much of its 75-minute running time." http://www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2019/07/theater-review-dropping-gumballs-on-luke-wilson-at-a-r-tnew-york-theater/
"The playwright Theresa Rebeck makes her New York directorial debut here and she handles both sides of the play -- the show business shenanigans and clash of ideas -- with authority, putting a well-cast troupe through their paces and never letting the action go slack." http://www.lightingandsoundamerica.com/news/story.asp?ID=84YCUB