Things, they are a-changing at the Azuka office: regular office hours, new phones, new internet, and now a new intern!
That's right, Drexel University Screenwriting and Playwriting student Lucas McLean started about two weeks ago. While we here at the office have already gotten the chance to get to know him, we wanted to give you, the Azuka family, the same chance. To do so, we asked Lucas the hard-hitting questions:
Cats or Dogs?
Cats. Love you Abigail. Sorry Blaze.
What drew you to playwriting?
The limitations. I'm so used to watching film and TV with cutaways, and close-ups, and CGI - which is all great. But a very different medium, with different tools for storytelling. On the stage, everything is presented as is in this incredibly intimate space that actors share with the audience. Which is a bitch to write, but the challenge makes me work a lot harder. Character is a lot more interesting for me to write than plot (whoops), and playwriting is a platform that lends itself to these long, tense, uninterrupted dialogues. Which, to me, is how the best hell breaks loose. Plus, I've been doing theater for so long, both on and backstage, and have such an appreciation for how it all comes together. It's such an exciting process. And it's kind of in my blood.
Which playwright do you look up to?
Edward Albee, who passed away recently, is the author of my favorite play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? In that, as well as in, of course, something like Who's Afraid, he pushed the envelope and presented deeply damaged characters without judgement, just brutal authenticity. There's also an amazing balance between theatricality and grounded human drama. Also, my professor Bruce Graham, who is just an all-around inspiration and mentor. Shoutout number 2.
What are you working on currently?
I'm writing a play about my depression and its effects on my relationship. In typical me fashion, when I first started writing it I thought that was somehow selfish or narcissistic, until I realized that millions of people experience the same thing and to have it put into words could be really helpful. I also want it to inform people who have partners, family, or friends with mental illness about what it's like. It's a conversation that's really important to me and art is my avenue through which to encourage it.
What was your first acting role?
The Shipmaster in The Tempest in sixth grade. That's right, I had the first line of the play. And that's definitely an indication of the size of my part. I did not exit to lines later. Major shoutout to Pat Pinney, the drama director at my middle school. Like, major.
When you aren't in the office or in class, where can you be found?
In my apartment re-watching the underwater episode of BoJack Horseman even though I know I'm just going to cry again.
Favorite Philly Spot? Favorite UCity spot?
Favorite Philly spot is the basement of Repo Records on South Street. Profound and vulgar and/or profoundly vulgar writing all over the wall. And everything is a dollar. Do I need a 45 of "Greased Lightning"? No. Do I own a 45 of "Greased Lighting"? Not my place to say. Favorite UCity spot is Shake Shack, because it's where I eat every time my family visits. Once I went to Shake Shack alone at 10PM and said, "Can I just get two orders of fries?" The cashier said, "That kinda night?" I said, "Yeah. That kinda night." It's a special place to me.
Lucas will be working at Azuka through March, so there's plenty of time to meet him in person, perhaps at the box office of our upcoming production of The Gap.