"We didn't have a lot of stuff drawn or written out on paper. It was more like we discussed things, let it evolve to the best idea possible and then we just started building it."
Wasilewski was a natural resource for Bryan to tap, not just because the pair worked together in high school, but also because Wasilewski has been doing a lot of set and stage construction lately.
"Tom is on medical leave from the military," Bryan said. "He did two tours in Iraq and was actually pretty injured while he was there."
Wasilewski, he explained, injured his back and ankle after an improvised explosive device attack on a vehicle he was traveling in.
Bryan added, "He's not allowed to work without losing his benefits, but he's not the kind of guy who can sit around and not do anything."
So, while he's recuperating, Wasilewski has been helping construct sets for community theater groups and school drama departments near his home in upstate Pennsylvania to keep busy.
Between the two of them, Bryan said, they got the superstructure done over a weekend. The rest, Bryan and his crew finished slowly during the first month of rehearsals.
"We didn't do any set blocking," Bryan said. "That's usually the first step after the read-through. Instead, I gave everybody the general idea of 'I think this is going to happen. We think you might be over here. We think you might be over there.'"
Bryan said he told his actors to focus on their characters, listen to the other actors and memorize their lines.
"I think that made some of the actors nervous, but it really paid off in the end," he said.
Bryan was pleased with how the production has turned out. Even with the extra work on the stage and the large cast (most of them under age 16), he said it really wasn't work.
"It was probably the easiest show to put on."
Mostly, because the cast of 45 is really four main characters and 41 auxiliary characters, most of whom are only seen somewhere on stage for a moment or two.
"So really, it's sort of a small show."
With a very big set in a little theater.
However, the extra stage isn't permanent. After the show has its final performance Sunday afternoon, most of the stage will be torn down and painted over.
"We have to get ready for the next show," Bryan said.Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.