“The Seekers of Perpetual Love”: A Black List Live! Event

 
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     The Black List is an online community designed to give aspiring screenwriters a chance to have their scripts read, rated and discovered.  Buyers and representatives frequent the site often to read outstanding scripts and make the movie magic happen.
 
     This past Saturday (September 20th), The Black List hosted a live reading of Victoria Strouse’s script, “The Seekers of Perpetual Love” at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. The cast included several notable actors, such as: Alison Brie, Nathan Fillion, Melanie Lynskey, and Seth Green.
 
     Doors opened promptly at 7:30 P.M. to accommodate the crowd, and within minutes, the venue was at full capacity.  The stage was filled with eight empty director’s chairs and labeled music stands that would later seat the program’s main characters.  At 8:00 P.M. on the dot, the chatter subsided as the lights slightly dimmed.  Franklin Leonard, founder of the Black List, took center stage to thank the audience for supporting the evening’s programming.  Leonard then proceeded to introduce Victoria Strouse (the screenwriter) and Cooper Thornton (the narrator).  Thornton made an unforgettable appearance on stage by distributing beverages to random audience members seated close enough to the front.  Leonard then proceeded to introduce the actors one by one as they made their appearance on the stage.  Every actor was met with excitement and applause, notably Nathan Fillion (Castle).  It is revealed that there was an error in the program and Seth Green would be playing the part of Wes Bachman; his entrance is met with equally unabated enthusiasm from the audience.  There’s a moment of silence as the cast gets situated, and then the show begins:
 
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     The first scene is set in New York, and by gauging the audience’s laughs, the humorous tone is already well-received.  We are immediately thrown into the lives of a dysfunctional upper-crust family trying to save one of their own from participating in a mass suicide as a result of a cult she recently joined.  A questionable deprogrammer is hired to join the three aforementioned siblings on the trek to find and save their misguided sister.  Nathan Fillion’s well-executed lines elicit hilarity from the audience, as does Seth Green’s brilliant portrayal of his self-medicated and complacent persona.  Alison Brie’s vibrant performance as Kayla Bachman is superseded only by her compelling dynamic with Nathan Fillion’s character, Rick Delacroix.  Justin Bartha plays the part of the crowd pleaser through his portrayal of identity-crisis victim Zach Bachman.  Jean Smart and Dean Cameron thrive in their roles of the cocktail-party loving matriarch and patriarch and are the source of many laughs throughout the reading.  Melanie Lynskey’s (as Scarlett Bachman) role is limited due to the nature of the script, but she does an excellent job of convincing the audience her eccentric character is completely brainwashed.
 
     It’s equally strange and amazing to see how a well-written script paired with seasoned actors can paint a vivid image for the audience.  We weren’t sitting in a theatre on Vine and Hollywood; instead, we were in a car with Zach, Kayla, Wes, and Rick as we witnessed their dynamics change and develop as a result of various plot points.  We laughed so hard at Wes when he passed out due to fear and when Kayla mistakenly took amphetamine on an airplane because we were there with them.  The scene that elicited the biggest audience uproar was when Zach described his music as “James Taylor meets John Mayer,” after which both Bartha and Green broke character completely.
 
     The reading ended slightly before 10:00 P.M., and several actors came out to interact with fans who had questions or comments.  The rest of the audience dispersed at this point, completely satisfied with the evening’s programming.  This was only the second Black List Live! event – another is set to show on November 15th
 
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