‘The Waiter: 30 Years of Waiting for the Muse to Arrive’ by Larry Blossom

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Larry Blossom gives a first-person account of the creative wellsprings of his latest production.

“I have always wanted to write. Even as a boy, growing up in the small town of Pueblo, Colorado, writing was what I enjoyed most and what I most wanted to do when I grew up.

But it seemed unimaginable to me from that vantage point.

Even getting through college seemed like a big deal, let alone coming to Washington, D.C., becoming a psychotherapist, and building up a practice.

So, my desire to write went into hiding and lay dormant for 30 years – like a cicada, waiting patiently for something in the environment to activate it.

Larry Blossom

In my case what activated it was Transcendental Meditation (TM). This quiet and simple technique proved to be surprisingly powerful. Delving into the depths of my psyche twice a day helped me feel comfortable with many things that previously frightened me – including my desire to create.

But how could I start? I asked a writer friend for advice and he said, “Just start with the first page.” I did that, and the rest came tumbling out. My first play was A Family Reunion, which I wrote, directed and produced at The Writers’ Center in 2011. Like so many others, I had seen stories of children who had been abducted and empathized with the victims and their families. But my work with traumatized people led me to ask: Even if these people are reunited with their families, what happens next? How do they work through their trauma? What about the children who were not abducted? How do they handle their own pain? –  not to mention the parents who routinely berate themselves for not having protected the abducted child sufficiently.

In my latest play, The Waiter, I continue my dramatic exploration of trauma and recovery.  In this coming-of-age-story, Billy Beasley becomes a waiter in a diner and finds among the motley and curious diner workers a surrogate family to whom he eagerly gravitates. I have always been fascinated by this aspect of adult development. But often I find that those who gravitate to alternative families of this kind are running away from some sort of pain in their families of origin.  They are hopeful that others will love them and help them, but their hope also renders them vulnerable and insufficiently self-protective.

The play draws on my knowledge of what it is like to grow up in a small town. When I was a child, the steel mill dominated Pueblo – influencing how it smelled, where people worked, how they suffered from occupational diseases resulting from chemical exposures, and how they died.  What struck me is how little hope people had of leading better lives. In The Waiter, I wanted to portray someone who does manage to transcend his small town background with the help of the new friends he makes. Before he can do so, however, he must run a gauntlet of challenges and setbacks, some buried deep in his past, and others on the road ahead.

My hope is to entertain and enlighten at the same time, bringing to the stage a raw intensity which I often seek in the plays I find most intriguing. Have I succeeded? I will leave that up to the audience to decide.”

The Waiter plays from June  7th through June 1oth at The Undercroft Theater at the Mt. Vernon Place United Methodist Church – 900 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, purchase them online.

LINKS

Meet the cast.

The Waiter website.

 

 

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.