Temple Theaters present I Used to Write on Walls by Bekah Brunstetter
by Hadiyah Weaver
Temple Theaters is flipping the script with the first female-dominated play of the season; I Used to Write on Walls directed by Amy Blumberg, running through October 14 in Randall Theater.
I Used to Write on Walls by Bekah Brunstetter follows three young, modern women as they fall in love with a flawed, stoner young man.
The play includes seven women and one man, and it a great complement to the male dominate productions of the Temple Theaters fall semester. It stars Isabel Robin, Cassidy Sanders, Hannah Postlewait, Ryan Mikles, Mary Kate Foley, Kelly Holstrom, Satchel Williams, Paxton Zeis and Hannah Kathryn Young.
“I was very interested in doing something that we don't normally do because we don’t have many plays by female playwrights on the season right now,” Blumberg said. “And I thought that was a need to be filled, because there are many voices and many stories that aren't being told.” Blumberg said.
Blumberg, a MFA ‘18 candidate for theater directing, is making her first debut in the mainstage season. In the past, she’s directed The Bear by Anton Chekhov on Young Jean Lee’s Groundwork of Metaphysics of Morals her first semester at Temple.
Before arriving at Temple, Blumberg, 30, was a professional dancer and educator for ten years. After mostly directing and choreographing middle and high school shows, Blumberg says she fell in love with educational theater, and decided she wanted to return to school for theater direction.
“I think I was really interested in telling stories in a way that could reach more people,” Blumberg said. “And I think theater when done well can reach more people in a really impactful way.”
Blumberg credits the head of the Playwriting and Directing Programs, Edward Sobel; her current mentor Professor Robert Hedley; Theater Department Chair Fred Duer; and cohort members all for her learning and growth at Temple.
“Just thinking about theater in general,” Blumberg said. “I would say some of the relationships with my cohort members, so some of the actors, my fellow director, and the designers have really shaped the way that I think about plays, and what is important in how [I] tell stories well” Blumberg said.
Satchel Williams, a junior Theater major with a concentration in acting, was very excited to work with Blumberg. Blumberg assisted in directing Williams’ first performance at Temple, The Two Gentlemen of Verona directed by James J. Christy in the spring of 2016.
“We bonded then, “ Williams said. “But we hadn’t worked together or been in a class or anything since then, but we had a really good experience working with each other so I was eager to work with her [again] in that capacity."
Blumberg is excited to reveal the show that has been in the works since the first week of the semester began. She claims a surprise she’s learned is finding out why these three women fall in love with Trevor, who doesn't have a lot of distinguish in his language.
"He says 'rad' and 'sick a lot," she smiles.
Trevor's character is important to the work as he ends up breaking the hearts of three ladies.
"He is not trying to be a bad guy,” Blumberg says. “[Or] trying to hurt these women, he is thinking about how well can he connect with the person in front of him right now, and these women are hoping that this is something different than it is." Blumberg said.
The idea of loneliness and love conflicts throughout the entire play, and the process can be a little draining for college students to perform after long school days, but Blumberg says it's not that way.
"Every time it feels like we've made a discovery in rehearsal." she said. "Some during those eight hour rehearsals or Friday, 4-hour rehearsal when everyone is tired at the end of the week, that can feel long but the actors bring so much of themselves and they are so generous with their willingness to play and try all sorts of crazy things."
Satchel Williams hopes that the audience receives a strong message from the play.
“People will go to the extremes just to feel like they are not alone in the world,” Williams said, “And I think it’s really comforting that if we recognize that yes, we had points where we were all kind of miserable, but, because we have those moments, we are human and just because we have those moments doesn’t mean we don’t have happiness, and we don't have other moments to live for and be happy about. I hope we realize that everyone feels that way so it’s not just you; you’re not alone in your loneliness.”