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Lusty Lady

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Friday, December 24, 2010

The NYU security guard turned playwright

I'm a sucker for a reinvention story, in part because I feel like the older I get, the easier it is to think that my life is set in stone, that the path I started out on and failed at (law school) turned into this seemingly cobbled-together one and that I cannot escape it. Not that I necessarily want to, but I'm enamored of people who do see new possibilities, especially at older ages.

From The New York Times:

While N.Y.U. forbids guards from personal writing while on duty, Mr. Nohilly said, he would hear a word, or come up with a bit of dialogue or an image, and jot it down on scrap paper to save for short stories, his passion after the poems of his youth. He especially liked sideways dialogue: the way characters could confront one another indirectly, or through pauses. He would have loved Pinter if he had known Pinter, but Mr. Nohilly rarely went to the theater.

And then he did, in 2002, at the age of 34, to see Simon McBurney’s downtown production of Brecht’s “Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.” Here was an instance where star casting clearly paid off. Mr. Nohilly, who occasionally works as an actor in crime dramas, wanted to see the big names in the show — Al Pacino, Steve Buscemi, Chazz Palminteri (Mr. Bronx himself) — and, in turn, their work made him determined to write for the stage.

“I came away thinking I better get my act together because I wanted my life to have that in it,” Mr. Nohilly, now 42, said of “the ferociously honest work of live theater” that he had seen in the Brecht.

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