Bruce Walsh at Azuka Theatre, part 2

Playwright Bruce Walsh (center), about to enter his reading, flanked by contemporaries Nicholas Wardigo and Greg Nanni.

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.

The cast of BERSERKER at Azuka Theatre.

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.”

How Eagles fans chose to spend their Sunday morning.