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In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Grace Zabriskie, Ryan Cutrona, Phil Proctor, Douglas Johnson, Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, Improv Actors, Sound Effects, 28 minutes
Preceded by: God
Followed by: Pilgrim

My father was a pioneer in the fluorocarbon and silicon industry.

Problems is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


Joe's father is a chemical engineer at a condom company in Massachusetts. Tired of his work, he builds a dirigible in the garage; on its first voyage, winds take it to the Vatican. He returns to the US, designs prosthetics, goes on the lam to avoid legal problems.

6:30: John (Ryan Cutrona) is glad he got a 9-millimeter (pistol), shoots his dog, Ollie, gets into a fight with his wife, Angie, (Grace Zabriskie).[1]

12:30: Joe delivers a mock paean to a fictional mother, all the things she did for her children and husband.[2]

21:30: John and Angie are back, arguing about where he was Wednesday and Thursday. He won't tell her because she could be kidnapped and tortured to find out.

23: Joe remembers when we were safer (to an improbable degree) in our possessions.

24: A guy calls. He's inside a shack, sees elephants out the window.

Legacy Synopsis

Joe's father works in a condom company, condom testing on animals and people. A testing lab made up like a hotel. His father escapes from an unhappy life in a dirigible, catches seagulls and fish. He meets the pope; we're given a list of topics they discuss. His father returns, works in prosthetics, then disappears to avoid patient lawsuits. A man talks about his gun, uses it to shoot a barking dog. His wife is furious. Sound of thunder in the background. The man and wife fight over the weather, over a squash dish, her housework. Monologue: Joe delivers monologue praising an idealized mother in a poor, rural household. Excusing her drunken outbursts, attempts to run away, repeated hospitalization, setting the house on fire, affairs with a doctor. The fighting couple - he refuses to tell her where he's been in order to prevent her from being captured and tortured for information. Monologue: remembering an idyllic past free from crime. A man on the phone describes seeing elephants from the window of his shack, his fear of a wet suit, says good bye. Bird and elephant sounds.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with David Rapkin. Recorded and mixed by Theo Mondle. Additional recording by Bob Carlson. The performers were Joe Frank, Grace Zabriskie, Ryan Cutrona, Phil Proctor, and Douglas Johnson."


I hear the voices of Joe, Ryan Cutrona, Grace Zabriskie, and a third man (in the last segment), which I can't identify. Various sources put Philip Proctor, Alan Arbus, and Douglas Johnson in the cast. I don't hear 4 male voices.


  1. Re-used In The Dark (Remix)
  2. re-used in Pilgrim