I work as a bartender now. Because that’s what being an actor in New York means. And like any new job, it has taught me a few things. Surprisingly though, not about alcohol (I already have a little too much firsthand knowlege.) This job has actually taught me a lot about play writing.
I like this job for a lot of reasons; free food, good pay, flexible schedule. But, number one on the list, is the people watching. It’s really like a non-stop character study. It is truly fascinating to watch people on first dates, next to someone meeting up with a long time business partner. A museum clerk, a lawyer, a grad student, they all come in, and get a little bit drunk; on a Tuesday.
These interactions are how plays are born. I mean, it is like the live taping of a TV show. Each night I work, I get to see all the regular characters and plenty of guest stars. Each night I meet a new face with a different story than the last one, and the old stories continue. Some are millionaires, some are slobs like me.
Each night, my bar is littered with characters to write about.
Some people literally grab my arm, and tell me about their day. Other people talk to each other, and I get to listen in. Either way, it is entertaining and enlightening. And each shift adds a page to my latest play.
People ask if I get to drink for free. And yes, I do. But, most nights I just sit and watch other people drink. And with each beer I pour, I get a little closer to finishing that play.