So you may have noticed that last week’s reading at Azuka Theatre left me less than entirely satisfied. Without retreading old ground, I’ll simply quote David Lee Roth: “Videos are like girlfriends to me; I’m constantly surprised by the choices other people make.”
So imagine my pleasant surprise to witness Bruce Walsh’s terrific reading on Sunday. Yes, Bruce is a friend. Yes, like all my other playwright friends, I want to see him succeed. But I wouldn’t lie for him (at least, not about playwriting; I mean, if he needed a believable alibi for why he wasn’t at his wife’s office party, sure, I’d step up, but playwriting is something else, entirely). BERSERKER, despite its dreadful title, is a great play. Seriously. If Azuka doesn’t produce this but DOES produce WAR PLAY, I will be…displeased.
The readers were exceptional, particularly since they only had one rehearsal. I’ll never comprehend how actors do that. Freaks. Bi Jean Ngo was spot on (of course), but I was particularly wowed by the lead, Jake Blouch. I spoke to him a little before the reading, and a little after, and we’re both convinced we’ve met before, but after throwing out festivals and shows and Barrymore after-parties, we can’t quite nail down where or when. But it feels like we might have gotten drunk together and stolen a goat.
A piece of color…Sunday also happened to be the Superbowl, and across from the theater was a sports bar with a line of people around the block. I felt the need to stop someone on the street and ask them what the hell was going on. These people were waiting to get into a sports bar on a cold, rainy day in February roughly seven hours before kickoff (and I have no idea how long they were there before I got there). I’d feel sorry for them, but honestly, I envy them a little, because I can’t think of anything in this world that I can get THAT excited about. Hey, I’m really excited about the next Avengers movie. Really excited. But if someone told me I had to stand in line for seven hours, I’d say, “Pfft. I’ll wait for the DVD.”