Newest Exile Intern, Brian, brings us inside Studio X-hibition's North of the Boulevard.
As an intern, I feel like I have no real job description. Or, if it's easier to digest, I have many, many job descriptions. After toying around with the website for about a week and a half, I started to read scripts that have been floating around the system. A few were very good. A few were bad. But once I heard we were doing a Bruce Graham reading, and that I was involved, I thought I might start by reading the script.
Bruce was my professor at Drexel, and I had him for both Playwriting I and II. He was the one who gave me my first playwriting experiences, and he was the one who pushed me towards Exile when I was looking for a co-op. I think it's fair to say that if he didn't exist, I wouldn't be half as interested in theatre as I am today, and I probably wouldn't want to be a playwright.
I took a lot from his classes, but if there's one thing I remember about Bruce Graham the professor, it's that he truly practices what he preaches. Any time I come across one of his plays, I can point out every bargaining scene, exposition bit... and I remember what week he taught each of them. Bruce has a very specific, systematic process, which is part of the reason he's been able to churn out success after success. North of the Boulevard is no exception.
Last Friday, I worked with Joe Wozniak to get the space ready for the reading, which was pleasant because of our quaint political bashing and not because of hanging up curtains. But once the actors came in on Monday, I was proud of the finished product, and finally recognized the amount of work that goes into setting up one of these things. It may not be what I want to do forever, but I'm enjoying the ride.
I sat in on the rehearsal, and sort of felt like the writer who was listening for the voices beyond the words. I looked over at Bruce, who was studying every line, every nuance, making sure that his 'pause-for-laughs' moments were hitting all of the right notes... and I realized how different a perspective it is for the writer than everyone else. Granted, I've heard/seen my own work, but looking at the final product Monday night, with the grown-up crowd's great response, I honestly realized why people like Bruce put themselves through this over and over again, especially when you have the right actors in the right roles. Then again, he didn't have to hang curtains, so he had it a little easier.
Hopefully one day, sooner rather than later, I can share that same experience, where I can stand in the back and watch the crowd go nuts, laughing at "I'd let Palin blow me."