On the Campus...
September 14, 2005:
Triangle; Frist as host
By ELYSE GRAHAM ’07
Most campus groups took a break for the summer, but the Princeton
University Triangle Club kept a small light of activity burning
on campus through the recess. The club’s writing team continued
work on the script for the fall 2005 Triangle Show even as its members
scattered across the globe.
In June the writing team presented a first draft of its Hollywood
themed script to alumni backers, whose feedback produced nine pages
of suggested revisions. During July and August the writers rewrote
skits, songs, and subplots; a core group of writers who remained
in Princeton and New York directed the work of the others by e-mail.
Working on the script during the summer was not very different
than writing during the school year, script coordinator Ben Fast
said, since both jobs involve “sleeping a lot and sporadically
e-mailing each other.” The absence of many team members from
campus made communication harder, however.
“It’s not like at school where you can walk over to
someone’s room and say, ‘Hey, can I read your scene?’
” Fast said.
With a second version of the show in hand, seven writers took
the script on Aug. 10 to a green rehearsal room at New York City’s
Shetler Studios. A group of professional actors – most of
them Princeton alumni – enacted the new script under fluorescent
lights, then offered feedback. The writers compiled pages of notes
to take to fall Boot Camp, an intense annual writing workshop planned
for early September to whip the show into shape.
Unlike the revues of recent years, the upcoming production will
be a book show, with a single story featuring one cast of characters.
Art imitates life: Triangle describes the show, untitled as of the
end of August, as “a race against time and studio politics
as a producer and a director work to make a Best Picture film in
only one month while also working out their differences.”
“NO FILIBUSTER, SORRY,” quipped Nick
Allard ’74, former president of the Princeton Club of Washington,
as he stepped up to address 150 undergraduate Princeton interns
gathered for the opening reception of the Princeton in Washington
summer program. Allard’s joke drew a groan from the students,
not because they wanted long speeches but because they were attending
a barbecue in Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist ’74’s
It was 33 days after the close of the so-called Frist Filibuster,
a highly publicized student protest at Princeton against Frist’s
proposal to ban Senate filibusters of judicial appointments. Many
of the interns gathered in Frist’s backyard had taken part
in the 384-hour protest – or in opposition to the protest.
Bill Richardson ’73, vice president of the Princeton Club
of Washington, called the protest “the Princeton sense of
humor at its classic best” and added: “That’s
how I’ll always remember the University – very serious,
but people had a lighthearted way of making a point.”
Frist said he would have moved on his proposed “nuclear
option” if the Democrats had refused to compromise. But he
insisted that the final Senate compromise, which allowed pending
nominees to be confirmed but did not rule out a filibuster against
future nominees, was a beneficial outcome for everyone.
The senator said he didn’t know much about the student protest
at Princeton. “I didn’t really know what they were filibustering
– I guess they were filibustering me,” he said.
Frist said he took an active role in national politics during
his undergraduate years. He was part of the student group that campaigned
for and initiated the University’s annual October break –
created so that Princeton students could volunteer in political
campaigns – and he spoke before the Board of Trustees on behalf
of keeping ROTC on campus.
Courtney Mazo ’08, who had participated in the Frist Filibuster,
said she had no qualms about attending the barbecue. Both encouraged
students to become more engaged with politics, Mazo said. “This
year, between the election and the Frist Filibuster, students were
able to debate their political views,” she said. “But
one of the good things about debate here [at Princeton] is it’s
Alex Maugeri ’07, vice president of the College Republicans,
said that although initial criticism of the student filibuster was
muted, once a venue appeared for dissenting voices “there
were tons of people who wanted to come out and support the senator.”
Maugeri, who helped organize a counterprotest to the filibuster,
said the campus “is fairly friendly to both political sides.”
Elyse Graham ’07 is an undergraduate fellow at Mathey
College. She is studying art and nonfiction literature.