SUBPRIME!: Inside the Heart of the Mortgage Meltdown
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SUBPRIME!: Inside the Heart of the Mortgage Meltdown

Kirkland, Washington, United States

Kirkland, Washington, United States
Band Comedy


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Pick of the Week: SUBPRIME!"

"SUBPRIME! is a whirlwind tour through a poignantly sordid fiasco, ending with a bang." - Margaret Friedman, Seattle Weekly


Norman Bell's real-life experience as a mortgage-loan officer puts him ahead of the pack of artists tackling the subject of the economic meltdown. It also gives his work an insider authenticity rare in theme-based material written by mere playwrights. This guy knows cubicle life: the pinch of the telemarketer's headset, the seductive croon of the top closer's phone pitch, the agony of getting hung up on a hundred times in a row, and the ecstasy of that 101st call, the "live one."

In this one-man show, Bell summons the bodies and/or spirits of 11 characters caught up in the mortgage meltdown, following them from the heights of 2005 (the year Bell worked in the industry) to the debased present. Main character John Bartlett starts as a lowly junior loan officer (or J-Lo), then steadily scales the ranks of the no-money-down mortgage scam, staying hydrated on "helping poor people share the American Dream"–flavored Kool-Aid. While it is fun and funny watching him get high on the money, power, and attitude, a vulnerable humanity emerges in his conversations with the guileless dreamers who are his clients. Bell dramatizes the seductive undercurrent of the gigantic hoodwink, the "You know you want it and the only thing standing between you and it is you" biz-babble.

Creative ploys, like a mortgage-vocabulary quiz, an animated slide show about the trajectory of a subprime loan, and a mini-mystery, allay the nausea that protracted doses of sleaze typically induce. Director Gin Hammond's expertise in dialect coaching pays off in nuanced character voices, including a few culturally diverse ones. Although momentum flags momentarily here and there, overall the show is a whirlwind tour through a poignantly sordid fiasco, ending with a bang.


- Seattle Weekly

"SUBPRIME! Sees Light at the End of the Tunnel"

"SUBPRIME! is a fantastic show that needs to be seen."


""SUBPRIME!" Takes Mortgage Crisis to a Humorous Level"

"Bell exploits the ridiculous subprime mortgage fiasco and the greed that led to it with humor and wit, but also takes the show into the less easily joked about aspects of the crisis."



Still working on that hot first release.



"SUBPRIME!: Inside the Heart of the Mortgage Meltdown" is a fun, fast-paced roller coaster tour through the turbo-charged world of the subprime mortgage industry - a world of fast-talking loan officers, opportunistic condo flippers and hopeful first-time homeowners, all looking for their piece of the American Dream.

Norman Bell - writer / performer

Norman Bell is a solo performer and playwright. His original performances include “SUBPRIME!”, “Mango”, “Little Hand” and “Think”. Norman has also performed in theatre, TV and film. In theatre, he played a lead role in David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”, and acted in “Ghetto” by Joshua Sorbol and “The Hothouse” by Harold Pinter. On TV, he was featured in the popular Spanish soap opera “Cor de la Ciutat”. In film, he played opposite Christian Bale in “The Machinist.”

Gin Hammond - director

Gin is a winner of the Helen Hayes Award, Katharine Cornell Award and the Washington DC Ushers' Award for her performance in The Syringa Tree. Gin received her MFA from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University / Moscow Art Theatre School. A native of San Diego, she has worked steadily across the country at theatres such as The Guthrie, Arena Stage, The Longwharf Theatre, ACT, The Pasadena Playhouse, ART, The Berkshire Theatre Festival and The Studio Theatre. She has also performed internationally at the Moscow Art Theatre and the Roadside Theatre in Heidelberg, Germany.