Written By: JD Adler - Mar• 16•11

Gerald Montgomery

The Montgomery Report

The theater seats sit empty and dark. Backstage, hands move about checking and double checking lights and camera angles, network feeds and uplinks, and secondary back ups. Amidst the chaos, the calm figure of Gerald Montgomery is perched upon a backless metal stool while a woman named Donna finishes his makeup and his agent and his producer each talk into 1 of his ears. Donna steps back to admire her work and Gerald smiles at her, “So, have you made me beautiful?”

Donna shrugs, “Its a makeup kit, not a magic wand, but you look good, baby. I’d take you home anyway.”

“What grander endorsement can a man have?”

“Gerald are listening to us?”

Gerald turns to his agent, Bob Stevens, a lock of brown hair falling from his neatly combed hairline and into his eye. “No.”

Bob, ever suffering, releases some of his sorrow in a long drawn out sigh. He turns to Eric, producer of the Report, “Your his boss now Eric, maybe you can get him to listen.”

“Whoa, whoa.” Gerald stood up and turned to face both men, “Let’s be clear, I am the boss. You 2, work for me. For now. So how about you both settle down, and let me get my game face on, alright?”

Turning his back on the 2 men, Gerald approached the entrance to the stage. The director’s assistant walked by screaming out the ETA, just 2 minutes to go. He would be performing for an empty theater, but ta real audience at home would be watching. Today he was just creating a short teaser clip that would define his show, welcoming people to watch. Everyone spoke of it as if it were just a quick and easy thing to do, ‘no audience even’, but this may be even harder. Without the audience to react to, his own reactions may seem fake. And if this wasn’t good, and people didn’t watch, then what? This could be the most crucial 5 minutes of his career.

The assistant walking by again, “30 Seconds! Quiet on the set!” Gerald couldn’t help but be impressed by how much sound could come out of that tiny woman. She came over, standing next to him in order to offer the cue for when he should step onto the stage.

Montgomery looked out through the drapes. A spotlight dropped onto an oak table and chairs. He had chosen this set himself, handcrafted wood built by a carpenter from Tennessee. He had spent hours studying the designs in the backs when they arrived.

He felt the assistant check his mic unit at his back, smooth his coat, and then give him his cue. Montgomery straightened his shoulders and strode onto the stage like a king entering his keep. Walking up and grabbing the back of the chair he pulled it out, and a deep disembodied voice filled the theater, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the Montgomery Report, Your Host, Gerald Montgomery.”

Gerald instinctively turned to thank the audience for applause, but since there was none, he quickly adapted by turning to the camera, smiling and nodding. He rested his left hand on the chair back, and began to trace the patterns etched into the back with his right forefinger, looking up into the camera again, he spoke, “You know, these chairs were handcrafted by a small town carpenter in Tennessee. He made each piece unique by carving into the back, by hand, a pattern, a work of art, of his own creation. There may be similarities in the designs, but no 2 are the same.”

“I believe that is a good metaphor for my show, our show, really. We focus so much in our culture on the celebrity, the wealthy, and how exciting and important their lives are. However, I believe all of our lives are amazing, that we all are involved in creating new and fascinating patterns in our world. This show will be about revealing that. We will bring onto this stage what has derisively become known as ‘common people’ and speak with them, learn their stories, and show that all of our lives are exciting.

“And on those occasions when we break form this, it will be to bring to our audience events that enhance everyone’s life in some way. Let me show you some of what I mean…”

A series of projectors, placed strategically about the balcony begin generate video onto the stage and walls to either side of Gerald Montgomery while leaving a perfect aisle for the table. Clips began to play of men using pipe welders, and women in uniform chasing criminals, and other day to day images, all mapped perfectly to the stage so that the ground appeared as earth and the rafters were sky, and the giant figures moving across the back walls stood in perfect perspective to their surroundings.

Pausing a moment for the audience to digest the new media, Gerald leans forward, left elbow on his knee, right hand raised, “Every day so called ‘common people’ keep this country moving. They build the roads and the houses, install the satellite dishes and wire the electricity.”

Aerial footage of mining operations begin playing on his right. Long winding routes of conveyor belts of metal carts carrying tools into the mountain and coal out in twisted across the landscape as thousands of tiny men walked alongside them, some starting shifts, others ending. To his right, footage of a grocery store from a ceiling security camera, as dozens of people wandered through the aisles, jostling for position in line.

“Where would we be as a country, culture, without those who made everything we have and use? It is not the businessman or the star or the politician who makes this country work, it is the rest of us.”

The images changed again, flickering quickly between head-shots framed in black. Some people smiled, some made goofy faces, others looked, straight faced into the camera showing no emotion at all.

“for some reason it is the people who deserve the most credit that go unnoticed, but not anymore. That is why we are here.” the projectors display only black screens, “This is the Montgomery Report, we hope you’ll join us.”

The spot light disappeared, the director, Joshua Stein, paused for 3 seconds before yelling cut. Gerald sat in the quiet dark for those seconds, alone. Then the lights came up, and Joshua stormed onto the stage, “That is it, baby! Done in 1. That’s what I am talking about. You’re a superstar, Gerry.”

“Gerald, please.”

“My apologies, Mr. Montgomery. Excuse me, I have to go get a spot of tea with me editor.”

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