The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve

“To Live would be an awfully big adventure.”

“An adventure well worth taking.”

I watched Jonah and Jossie clamber out the window, accompanied by Mikea’s piano playing. And I knew it was over. Just as soon as it’d started, it was over. That’s the thing about One Acts, we only have two show nights. One second it’s opening night. The next it’s time to close up shop.

But I suppose I should just listen to Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

And I am so unbelievably happy that it happened. Even as I sit here thinking about the past two nights, I can’t help but smile. Jonah, Jossie, and Claire did an amazing job of becoming everything Erica and I envisioned and more. It was almost eerie, sitting there watching the Trinity perform our play. It made me think about the first time Erica and I talked about Peter Pan. It made me think about our first draft. These characters that were coming to Life before our very eyes…they were our characters. We created Eve and Peter and Delilah. And there they were.

So, The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve had it’s first showing. The future of the script and of the play is still a little foggy. But I’ll always remember it’s debut cast. I’ll remember getting chills every time Jonah recited his monologues. I’ll remember bursting with pride the second Jossie became illuminated in that single spot of light. I’ll remember laughing at Claire every time she delivered another silly punch-line. Each of them became more genuine interpretations of their characters than I ever thought possible. I’m so happy Erica and I chose the actors we did.

I could go on all day.

Overall, I think the Festival was an amazing success. I enjoyed all of the plays. I thought the art gallery was really impressive. I even got a few chances to be enchanted by some of the singing performances.

Alas, it’s over. And after this week, Track will be over, too. In one fell swoop of a week, I’ll lose my extra-curriculars. And there’ll be nothing to do but wait. Wait for school to end.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

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The Festival Upon Us

May 7, 2013

The Festival Upon Us

This weekend is the 2013 Gull Lake High School Festival of the Senses. It’s basically Gull Lake’s way of celebrating all the arts in our school…in one weekend.

Artists display. Musicians play. Choirs sing. Dancers dance. And thespians perform.

Of course, the entire Festival is awesome. The art is really impressive (and all made by Gull Lake students). The Jazz Band is always good. The choir is a harmonic troupe of singers that usually perform the works of a popular musical. The dancers work daily in their EFA dance class and it shows when they do their stuff. And…well, maybe I have a little bit of bias, but I personally enjoy watching the One Acts most.

This blog is a little nudge for anyone in the Gull Lake Community that finds their weekend plans are lacking a little…flair. Why not come out to the Festival? It’s free to get in. It’s entertainment. And it supports small-town arts.

In case there’s anyone that needs a bigger nudge, I asked the other One Act Directors to provide me with a brief synopsis of their play, just as a little teaser for any Curious-Cathy’s out there.

Check Please – Aija Rozentals (Friday, May 10th 8:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 7:20 PM)

“After a particularly nasty break up, a boy and a girl are encouraged by their best friends to rebound and head right back out into the dating field. This one act comedy follows these two lost souls in their bizarre and unnerving search for love. What awaits them as they journey into the unique world of dating in the 21st Century?”

Types & Timing – Shelby Hoxworth (Friday, May 10th 8:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:00 PM)

“Fabulous business woman Priscilla in her controlled, perfect Life is thrown a curve ball when the Sharizer Phoebe shows up out of the blue. Sent to check things out by his boss/girlfriend, MacArthy will do anything to get the promotion he wants too badly.”

Debating the Days – Shelby Cartwright (Friday, May 10th 8:55 PM; Saturday, May 11th 8:20 PM)

“A comedy about the seven days of the week. They receive a letter from America, stating that one of them has to be eliminated in order to help the economy. Each day sets off having to state their reasons as to why they can’t be cut. Each character has their own special quirk about them that adds to the overall humor of the show, and the ending may come as a surprise. It falls on the edge a bit with some of the language and themes, but is a really good show to come along and enjoy.”

No Such Thing As A Vampire – Kristen Russel & Mikea Lapierre (Friday, May 10th 9:15 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:00 PM)

“On a warm night in the 1800s, Alexis Gheria awakens with a bloodcurdling scream. there’s blood and two puncture wounds on her neck. Could it be what the entire village has been fearing? Her husband, with the help of his loyal maid Carol and helpful colleague Michael Vares, searches for answers to uncover a shocking truth.”

The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve – Brian Wiegand & Erica Heathcote (Friday, May 10th 9:35 PM; Saturday, May 11th 9:40 PM)

“A one act drama/comedy all about growing up. In Small Town, USA Eve finds herself faced with her sister Delilah’s departure for college. The night before Delilah leaves, Eve is visited by a nighttime prowler, also known as her best friend: Peter. As Peter desperately tries to get Eve to sneak out with him, the two delve into the thing that haunts us all: Growing up.”

I urge anyone in the Gull Lake Community to consider setting up their weekend around this spectacular event.

The Festival of the Senses has always been worth the evening.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Trinity

April 19, 2013

The Trinity

The One Act Play Festival is rapidly approaching. Rehearsals are in full swing and the Black Box Theatre is, once again, filled with PAC Rats every night.

The One Acts will be performed during the Festival of the Senses at Gull Lake High School on May 10th and 11th.

Personally, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m co-directing a play that I co-wrote with Ms. Erica Heathcote: The Pan Complex. Together, Erica and I were lucky enough to snatch up a Trinity of actors that we couldn’t be happier with.

We have the lovely Claire as our heroine’s older sister, Delilah. Claire is spunky, hilarious, and easy to work with. (Not to mention she already had most of her lines memorized by the time we got back from Spring Break.) It’s thanks to Claire that most of my terrible jokes are getting filtered out of this play and replaced by ones that the audience might actually laugh at.

Our hero, Peter, is being played by the bold Jonah. Jonah’s uninhibited, good humored, and a perfect fit for Peter. There was a scary moment towards the start of the production where we feared we might lose Jonah due to a mix-up with double casting. Luckily, Erica and I managed to leave that recasting meeting with our Trinity intact.

Lastly, we have our heroine: Eve, who’s being played by the marvelous Jossie. Jossie’s unbelievably talented but also rather modest, she’s mild with a hint of feist, and I count my blessings every night that we got her to be our Eve. Jossie and I were in a play together last year called Door to Door, which was an absolute blast.

Overall, they’re a Trinity. A brilliant, amazing Trinity of actors that Erica and I couldn’t be happier with. It’s a shame that we only have a few more rehearsals before it’ll all be over. But I’ll definitely enjoy the next few weeks as we get closer and closer to showing our community: The Pan Complex.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

A Call to Arms

March 23, 2013

A Call to Arms

This upcoming Wednesday, the Performing Arts Company will hold auditions for the 2013 One Act Play Festival.

Personally, I think that the One Act Play Festival is one of the most fun and fulfilling things that a kid can do at Gull Lake High School. The plays are 100% student created. They’re directed by students (usually Seniors, like yours truly). They’re performed by students. And all of the tech is run by students.

This Monday from 2:45-4:30 in Mr. Nott’s Room, we’ll be hosting an Orientation where students who are maybe a little hesitant about auditioning can come and learn what we’re all about in the Performing Arts Company. It’s open to everyone in every grade. The Senior Directors will talk a little bit about what it’s like to audition and what the different technical crews are.

On Wednesday from 2:45-5:30 in Mr. Nott’s room, we’ll be hosting our auditions. These auditions are open to everyone in every grade and there’s no experience necessary. It’s always great to see fresh faces at auditions, so I encourage any budding thespians that may be reading this to come.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what sort of kids come audition and I can’t wait for Erica and I to find that magical trinity of cast members that will make up: The Pan Complex. The ball is beginning to roll and I’m sitting expectantly on the edge of my seat.

So, this is A Call to Arms. I’m calling out to any and all Drama kids hiding at Gull Lake, requesting that you come help make this year’s One Acts the best ever.

On a very slight side note…Glitter’s tonight. Doors open at 6:30. Show starts at 7:00. There’s still some tickets left to be sold at the door.

Fingers crossed for a successful One Acts and for a successful Glitter.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

My Closet Door

February 25, 2013

My Closet Door

Due to the effect of Michigan weather, we Richlandites won’t see Spring take over our environment for a while, but Spring is certainly approaching…rapidly.

Spring is a busy time for an Idiot like me. Spring means Track…Spring means One Acts…And Spring means Glitter. Glitter auditions have already come and past, the Call Board was posted just last week. This year will be my fourth as a Master of Ceremony. There’s a opening Track meeting tomorrow. And just today, Mr. Nott updated the Call Board with information on One Acts.

So, I’m very aware that my final season of High School will soon be upon me.

Just the other day, I was looking at My Closet Door and it hit me just how close we are to the end. See, my closet door has these four panels. On each panel, I’ve placed a poster and a playbill from that year’s PAC events. The problem with this decoration is that once it’s finally finished…I won’t be around long enough to appreciate it. With One Acts on the way, My Closet Door will soon be complete.

Well, shoot.

Anyway, the non-morbid part of Spring is that it’s always fun. Busy…But fun. And I can’t wait to try my hand at Directing my very own show.

I haven’t talked about it for a while, but The Pan Complex will soon be presented for the community to see. While Erica and I may have been slacking slightly in our author-ly duties, we’ll have the play done before it’s due…this Thursday.

I think the most exciting thing about The Pan Complex is that it’s being invented 100% by Erica and I. We wrote the play, we’ll cast the players, we’ll decide the movements, we’ll design the set, and I’ve even asked a good friend of mine, Brady, to make the music. For four years, I’ve been under the direction of Mr. Nott or Mrs. Stahr or some Senior…But this year, I get to grab my megaphone and see what I can do with the right side of my brain.

It’s the compilation of everything I’ve learned in four years of PAC and High School packed into one 15 minute show.

Spring means a lot of things that I can look at morosely…my last Track season, my last trimester of High School, my last Glitter, my last PAC Show…Or I can realize that I’ve been blessed to have these opportunities given to me. And I’m lucky to still have a little bit of time to make a splash at Gull Lake High School.

So, here’s to the completion of My Closet Door. Here’s to Spring. Here’s to Track. Here’s to Glitter. Here’s to One Acts. And here’s to Peter Pan.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Freshman year, I learned to smoke.

Smoking Lesson

Sophomore year, I became a very small actor.

Small Actors

Junior year, I fell under the shadow of a dune.

Dune Shadow

Senior year…I just got angry.

Twelve Angry Jurors

Every year, I became someone new. I learned more. From props crew, to Jason, to Will, to Juror No. 8…I’ve worn different faces and gone by different names.

But the thing that’s remained constant is that I’ve loved every second of being a PAC Rat.

The pesky Year of Lasts is at it again, though…and my final year of PAC is rapidly approaching. As I write this, it’s Friday night and we just had opening night of Twelve Angry Jurors. And it was everything I hoped for and more.

The show went great and, from what I could tell, it was well received. After the show, I went out to Applebee’s quickly with some of the Cross Country Guys and they all seemed to have enjoyed it…It’s great to have friends like that. Friends who will come out and see you doing what you love most.

Anyway, I think the oddest moment of the night for me was just before the show started. A PAC tradition is that we start off every show with “The Jump”, an exercise in which we attempt to connect on another level and jump in unison with our eyes closed.

The Jump is traditionally lead by a Senior. And this year, on this day, that Senior happened to be me.

Suddenly, I was explaining the Jump to everyone, and as I was talking I heard all the past Seniors talking with me. I saw Ryan and Kendall, I heard Sarah and Greta, I recalled Emily and Sam…And I felt this eerie feeling wash over me.

I had finally reached it. I had finally become a Senior. I was here, at my last PAC Show Weekend…And I was leading the Jump…

***

Now it’s Saturday night. The show went really well again. My parents spared no expense in bringing family friends and relatives from across the state to see the show. Carly came, too. She drove down from Interlochen to see the show. It was great to see all of them.

After the show, some of the cast and crew headed out to Applebee’s to celebrate. Nothing like a plate of chicken tenders to top off a great night.

***

And now it’s Sunday. I just got home from the show and I feel…drained. The show went well, but I’m still struggling to swallow the fact that it was my last PAC show.

After the show, this hard truth wasn’t made any softer by the fact that it was time for the Seniors to paint our names upon the walls of the stage, joining the many other names of our PAC Rat Legacy.

Before we’d even started painting our names, though, Rachel announced the winner of the PAC Jacket for this years show…And it was me. And I can remember feeling my jaw drop and my face freeze as I heard her call my name out. I shuffled out from backstage and nodded a: “Thank you.”

In the end, the show was awesome. I was proud of the Performing Arts Company. I was proud to be Juror No. 8. I was proud to be performing with twelve other talented teenagers. I was proud of the hardworking technical crews that made it all possible…

***

Now it’s all over. All over. Once again, I find that my Senior Year has struck. I’ll never perform in another PAC Show. I’ll never act in the name of Gull Lake. I have to say goodbye to PAC. I have to paint my name upon the black walls of backstage and leave it at that.

Sure, I’ve still got a One Act to direct…and lord knows One Acts are a lot of fun…but it’s hard to realize I’ve Lived through my Final Days of Being a PAC Rat.

I’ve loved every second of PAC. I loved learning to smoke and I loved becoming a small actor. I loved falling under a dune’s shadow and I loved getting angry.

I suppose I’ll just listen to the words of Dr. Seuss…

I won’t be sad that it’s over. I’ll be glad because it happened.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Shameless Self Promotion

January 31, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion

 

Just a quick post for those Gull Lakers out there enjoying their Snow Day. Or it can be for anyone willing to listen.

I’m calling all Idiots out to the Gull Lake High School Performing Arts Company’s production of…

Twelve Angry Jurors

The show times are as follows:

Friday at 8:00 PM

Saturday at 8:00 PM

Sunday at 2:00 PM

And all of them are in the Cafetorium of the Gull Lake Middle School

At the start of this PAC season, lord knows I was afraid of what PAC would be like this year. No tour, no Mr. Nott, so many changes. Here we are, two months later, and I’m happy with the show. I’m proud of Twelve Angry Jurors and I think the cast is ready to do their best to knock the socks off of anyone who attends.

It’s time to be someone else.

It’s time to become a Juror.

It’s time to…get a little angry.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training, Juror No. 8)

Twelve Angry Jurors

The Rapid Approach of Opening Night

In the year 2013…On February 1st…At 8:00 PM…In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium…The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the first time. It’ll be our Opening Night.

In the year 2013. On February 2nd. At 8:00 PM. In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium. The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the second time.

In the year 2013. On February 3rd. At 2:00. In the Gull Lake Middle School Cafetorium. The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will perform their rendition of Twelve Angry Jurors for the last time.

For three nights, we’ll perform Twelve Angry Jurors. For three nights, we’ll show the community what we’ve been working on for the past couple weeks.

And then it’ll be over.

Senior Year is a Year of Lasts. I’ve already experienced my last Cross Country Season. Soon, I’ll be performing in my last PAC show. Of course, this kind of event makes me think about my past years of PAC. I still remember Freshman Year when we performed Smoking Lesson. My very first year of PAC. I was a scared Props Crew member that looked with awe upon the big Senior Kendall Jennings. She was like a celebrity. Oh, Kendall Jennings! The lead! The Senior!

Then, in my Sophomore Year, we performed Small Actors and it was my first time ever performing in a play. To say that I was nervous is an understatement. I still remember the first thing I said to Sarah (the “Big Senior Lead” that year) when we stepped on stage. See, the opening scene was this busy High School hallway, so Sarah and I had a moment where we would just talk casually to each other as other students noisily walked past.

“I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” I chuckled.

“Don’t do that,” Sarah smiled.

Luckily, I didn’t.

And then there was my Junior Year, with Mr. Nott’s play: Dune Shadow. The Home Shows that year had a lot of weight placed on them. Seeing as it was Mr. Nott’s last year Directing a PAC show, there was a huge gathering of alumni in the audience. They were all there to celebrate a man who had touched the Lives of countless budding thespians. Well…that was a fair amount of pressure. But, like the year before, I did not throw up. In all seriousness, it was a great show weekend and I had a blast honoring Mr. Nott with his very own play.

And now there’s this year. We’ve only got a handful of rehearsals left…And then it’ll be Opening Night. It’s getting pretty close to the wire and there’s still certainly a lot of work that needs to be done on our play if it’s going to be successful. But if there’s one thing that Mr Nott taught us, it was that theatre is a problem solving exercise. It wouldn’t be live theatre if everything went off without a hitch.

So, it’s time to buckle down. It’s time to work hard to make something that we’re all proud of.

It’s time to…get a little angry.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

A Place to Rehearse

January 3, 2013

A Place to Rehearse

Back in the old days of Mr. Nott, the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company used Mr. Nott’s room (the black-box theatre) for the early stages of our rehearsals. Nowadays, we’re under new management and we’ve been using Mrs. Stahr’s room for our rehearsal space. But I still remember the black-box.

The bell would ring, marking the end of another school day. Students would hurry home. Basketball players and wrestlers would head to the gym for practice. And the PAC Rats would make their way down to Mr. Nott’s room where we’d wait for rehearsal to start.

We’d crowd into the warmth of the spacious, dimly lit room, the sound of Mr. Nott’s soothing music seeping throughout the theatre space. Occasionally, the door to the outside would open in a flurry of cold air and snow as someone coming from an EFE or EFA (off-site educational programs) walked in. A few people would make quick trips to the nearby BP station and grab a quick treat before making their way back to the school. Overall, the black-box just had a homey feeling. It’s the same feeling I get when I sit in Coach Portis’ room before practice. It’s the same feeling I get when we move rehearsals to the Middle School stage. It’s the same feeling I get when I come home after not being there for an extended period of time. It’s just familiar.

Of course, I’ve got nothing wrong with rehearsing in Mrs. Stahr’s room. She’s right when she says that we’ve got all that we need in her room. Twelve Angry Jurors is sort of a minimalist play. All we need to rehearse is a table, 12 chairs, a window, a door, and a water-cooler. All of those things can easily be found or mimed in any classroom of the high school.

However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad about this change in setting. It’s all just part of the transition, I suppose. I do miss the black-box, though.

But, in the end, the homey feeling surrounding the black-box isn’t really brought on by the theatre space itself, it’s brought on by the people that fill the theatre space.

I’m sure we could meet anywhere before Cross Country as long as all my teammates were there. I’m sure my house could be anywhere and anything as long as my family was there. And I’m sure we could rehearse just about anywhere as long as I got to see my fellow PAC Rats.

Because I’ll love PAC no matter what. Because it’s all about theatre. And that’s what I love.

All we need is A Place to Rehearse and a group of people dedicated to the craft.

No matter where we rehearse, I know I’ll love every second of my last year of PAC. And I know we’ll work to make our production of Twelve Angry Jurors the best it’ll be.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

VIII

December 17, 2012

VIII

Last Wednesday, at 7:00, the Cast List was posted by the new PAC director, Mrs. Stahr. As you can imagine…this was pretty exciting. It read as follows:

Judge/Guard: Charisse T.

Foreman: Kelcee R.

#2: Shelby H.

#3: Samantha K.

#4: Leighanne B.

#5: Karly K.

#6: Jonah G.

#7: Jack L.

#8: Brian W.

#9: Juli G.

#10: Jossie C.

#11: Alana F.

#12: Shelby C.

There was a mad rush to see the Call Board from all who auditioned. Of course, this involved equal amounts of joy and sorrow. But, in the end, the Cast List is what it is. Mrs. Stahr made her choices and I can’t wait to see what the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will make of Twelve Angry Jurors.

Just this afternoon, the Tech List was posted and it was packed with placements that made me smile.

For starters, Mary and Kristen got Associate Directors…And that makes me happy. I asked Mary a few months back what she’d want to do in PAC this year and she said she certainly wouldn’t mind Associate Director. And I’m glad that she is. I think she’s a creative mind that will really help make the play something special.

And a good friend of mine, Rachel, got Stage Manager. A position I know she’s had her heart set on. Rachel’s a little girl with a very, very big heart and I know she’s up to the task of managing us PAC Rats and whipping us into shape.

Oh, and another good friend, Claire, got Sound Chief. I’ve always thought that was a cool aspect of PAC. Everybody starts out in minor positions, learning the ropes. It’s not very sensible to make a newbie a Chief so, in general, people start out on the bottom rung and work their way up as they display their talents. And it’s really special to see that sort of thing happen to friends of yours.

I can’t remember everything the Tech List said…it was a lot longer than the Cast List and therefore a bit harder to remember. But, overall, I’m just so…unbelievably and uncontrollably excited to start working on this show.

That desire was slightly curbed today. Today was our very first rehearsal. The 13 actors and actresses went and met in Mrs. Stahr’s room for our first read-through of Twelve Angry Jurors. And I thought it went exceptionally well, especially for a first read-through. I mean, it didn’t go perfect…But I don’t think there’s been a single first read-through in the history of theatre that went perfect.

It’s satisfying to finally get our hands on the scripts and to highlight our lines and to read the show that we’ll be performing. I feel good…now that I’m finally doing PAC again.

Even if there’s the grim reality that it will be my last year…

I’m happy to be working on a play.

And I’m thrilled to be Juror No. 8.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Now is the Start

December 6, 2012

It finally happened. Today, the PAC call-board was updated with information on when auditions will be…and so much more. Now my fellow PAC Rats and I know when auditions are, what the play will be, and who the new director is.

Auditions are Monday and Tuesday of next week.

The new director is Ms. Stahr

And the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company will be putting on a production of…

Twelve Angry Jurors

Now is the Start

Honestly, I don’t think there are many things I’ve ever been so excited for. All I’ve wanted is for it to Start. And Now is the Start. It’s really going to happen. I’m really going to be partaking in my Senior and final year of PAC in less than a week.

I have no idea what kind of surprises the season will hold. With us not doing tour for the first time ever in PAC history, none of us know what to expect…But I’m eager to just…Start. I can’t wait to audition and I can’t wait to see who the Assistant Directors and Stage Managers are I can’t wait to see who becomes Crew-Chiefs and I can’t wait to see the cast list and I can’t wait to start rehearsals and I can’t wait to help in the creation of something we can all be proud of for the Gull Lake Community.

But it’s also a bittersweet Start. I think the PAC Rats can agree we’re all a little bummed that Mr. Nott retired. Of course, I’m sure that Mr. Nott wouldn’t leave the Company that he originated in the hands of just any ol’ schmuck. Ms. Stahr must be the right person for the job, or Mr. Nott wouldn’t be passing the torch to her.

So…here  I sit…eager. This might be one of the longest weekends I’ve ever experienced.

In the meantime, I’ve been brushing up on my knowledge of Twelve Angry Jurors. I’d just like to get familiar with the piece we’ll be working on this year. Amazingly enough, the whole script can be found online just by Googling “Twelve Angry Men” (Twelve Angry Men is the original title of the work. However, PAC doesn’t have a whole lot of guy actors…I’m guessing that’s why she changed it to Twelve Angry Jurors.) And there’s an old 1957 film version of the play.

From what I’ve read, the plot sort of goes…

Open on a courthouse! On trial is a young, 19-year-old boy…accused of murdering his father! A jury of twelve of his peers is sent into deliberation over whether he is guilty…or not guilty.

The entirety of the play takes place within the deliberation room. To start off the discussion, the Foreman (or Juror No. 1) calls a vote, to see if they might already be in agreement. Eleven of the jurors vote “Guilty”. Juror No. 8, however, votes “Not Guilty”. And…well, I don’t think I should spoil it…I mean, that’s kind of intriguing, right? I don’t wanna ruin the story for anyone who might want to see it…I’ll just leave it there.

It’s the story of 12 very different people coming together to decide the fate of another human being. It’s a story I can’t wait to help in the creation of.

And I won’t have to wait much longer.

Because Now is the Start.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Suspense Building

November 10, 2012

Here’s the thing: PAC is going through some uncertain turmoil. PAC, for those of you who may not know, is the Drama Club at Gull Lake High School. We’re the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company. And we’re going through some changes.

See, we used to have this Director…Mr. Nott. He was a Great.

(Sidenote: At Gull Lake, I like to picture that most of the departments have Greats. These are the Life changing teachers that we’ll all talk about with the utmost respect for years to come. These are the sage teachers who’ve been with the school for years and most consider that you haven’t truly graduated from Gull Lake unless you’ve had them. In Science, there is Coach Portis. In Social Studies, there is Mrs. Pelletier. In English, there is Mrs. Jones. In Math…well, I hate Math. I don’t picture a Great in the Math department…I try not to think about the Math department. And in the Arts…there is Mr. Nott.)

And he’s retiring. He’s slowly releasing his grasp on Gull Lake, leaving behind a legacy of the greatest Drama teacher Gull Lake will ever have. His first step in this process is stepping down from his position as Director of PAC.

Of course, this has left everyone in PAC with one big question: Who’s going to be the new Director? Who will take the PAC reigns and ride our theatre horse? These are the things that keep me up at night.

So far, the call board has merely read: “…Play title and new Director TBA.” And every day I read that call board and I feel my eagerness grow. The Suspense is Building.

Not only is there mystery surrounding who the Director will be…there’s a lot of confusion about what that new Director might do. For 22 years, PAC has taken part in a competitive theatre league dubbed “State Tour”. But Mr. Nott has speculated and hinted at the fact that the new Director does not necessarily have to do State Tour. Heck, we could end up just performing on our home stage instead of taking the show on tour and displaying it at theatre competitions like we’ve done before.

Maybe this is all a little confusing to you…Okay, let’s clarify a few things. Traditionally, the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company creates a show 45 minutes in length (in accordance with competition rules) and builds a set that fits into an allotted box of space and can be deconstructed and reconstructed in 15 minutes (also in accordance with competition rules.) This show is then taken on tour around the state to different levels of competition where our show is judged in comparison to other school’s shows. It’s competitive theatre.

Anyway, as you can tell, competitive theatre has it’s limitations. I mean, the show can only be 45 minutes? The set needs to be easy to take apart and put together? That’s a little bit…constricting. I’m not complaining, of course, I love State Tour. I just feel like the show’s potential is sometimes oppressed by these rules. So, as much as I really do want to do State Tour, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me if we only did home shows. The play could be longer, the set could be constructed to our hearts desires…we’d be given a lot more liberty. And we’d be able to present to the community more often, which could result in higher ticket sales and therefore more revenue to the Performing Arts Foundation. There’s certainly some benefits.

So, we PAC Rats are sitting in eager anticipation. Who will replace Mr. Nott? What will they do? What will the show be? Really, when all is said and done, I don’t know if the answers to those questions matter a whole lot. It’ll still be PAC. We’ll still make a show. I’ll still get to see all my friends.

Bottom line: I can’t wait for sign-ups and auditions. I can’t wait for rehearsals. I can’t wait for PAC. It’s my Senior Year and my last High School show. I’m just excited to get started.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Why I Act

September 9, 2012

“To be an Actor, you have to be a child.” – Paul Newman

I’m a child.

Why I Act: Because the world has a lot to teach me. Because I have a thirst to learn. And I think the best way to find the knowledge of the world is to step into the minds of strangers.

Am I a child prodigy? No. Not in any Universe. I have honestly no idea what my skill level really is. Do I enjoy Acting? Of course. And this is a blog about why.

I’ve only been Acting for about two years now. I started in the Winter of my Sophomore Year. And I was hooked almost instantly. My first role was Jason in the One Act Comedy: Small Actors. The play followed the story of a young girl, Emily, as she struggled to stand out in her High School Drama Club. When Emily learned that she didn’t receive the part of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, she was crushed. That night at home, as she was about to tell her parents that she had been cast as the Second Servant, she learned that they would be in Hawaii on the performance dates. So, Emily lied…to make her parents proud. She told them that she would be Juliet. A short while later, her parents canceled their vacation. Emily, desperate to keep her parents happy…even if only for a short while, did not tell them the truth. On the night of the show, she still had not told her parents this devastating fact. Unfortunately for her, her parents decided to spring upon her that they’d flown in the whole family to see this show. Emily faced her doom with her head hung. Her parents discovered her deception and she certainly paid the price for her lies, especially from her mother. Slowly but surely, though, the family grew closer together because of the event.

Jason was Emily’s best friend. My first role was that of a High School boy. So, you can imagine, it was pretty easy to, as they say, “get into character.” But it was Life changing, nonetheless. I was hooked. Every day at school, I found myself wanting more and more for it to be 2:45, so I could make my way to the Drama room where Sarah (Emily), the cast, and I could become our alter egos in a world entirely populated by our imagination.

Since that first play, I’ve adopted three other personalities through PAC…

The crazy Playwright.

The brave Will Rawlings.

And the troubled Carter White.

And every time I learn something. Something about me. Something about the world. Something about Humanity. Something about who I must become. Something about Life.

From Jason, I learned to appreciate every friend I had.

From the Playwright, I learned that we all go a little…nuts…sometimes.

From Will Rawlings, I learned about bravery and about maturity. And what it means to “step up to the plate.”

From Carter White, I learned the value of an interconnected humanity. I learned how strange it is to call a fellow human “stranger.”

Who knows what I’ll learn the next time I step into another person? That’s the magic of acting. That’s why I do it. I’m a child. I’m an Idiot. I’m a Superman in training. And I want to learn. I want to learn all I can.

So, I’ll keep on acting. Until the day I die. Whether it becomes a profession or stays a hobby, I will always act. Because it’s what I love to do.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Gull Lake Performing Arts Company (my High School’s Drama Club) puts on three different shows each year. The first show is in the Fall, it’s called “The Haunted Theatre”. Basically, we make a Haunted House. I’ve never participated in this because I’m always busy with Cross Country and I don’t really feel a burning passion to be a part of it. The second show is in the Winter, it’s called “State Tour”. This is our “big thing” every year. We all sign up or audition to take part in different aspects of creating, publicizing, and performing one 45 minute show. Which is pretty cool. The whole production is student run (with some adult advisors, of course). We have student Stage Managers, student Technical Directors, student Light Board Operators, and even student Assistant Directors. It’s a really awesome experience. Then, we take the show on tour to different High Schools where we compete against other Drama Clubs. The winners of the competitions are determined by a panel of judges. My Freshman year, we performed Smoking Lesson by Julia Jordan. My Sophomore year, we performed Small Actors by Stephen Gregg. My Junior year, we performed Dune Shadow by our very own Head Director and Advisor, Robin Nott. My Freshman year, I was a props crew member. My Sophomore year, I played a boy named Jason. My Junior year, I played the central character’s brother, Will. (Someday, I’ll write a post about acting. Today isn’t the day, though.) The third show is in the Spring, it’s called “The Festival of the Senses”. Now, I suppose a disclaimer should be that PAC doesn’t actually organize all of the Festival. The Festival is a display of all the art in our school. The Jazz Band plays, the Choir sings, the Art Department sets up a gallery, the Dance classes…dance, and the Performing Arts Company performs Senior Directed One Act plays. That is the Gull Lake Performing Arts Company in it’s entirety.

This year, I am a Senior at Gull Lake High School. Which means I get to direct my very own One Act this Spring. That’s really exciting. And that’s the point of this post. I want to talk about my One Act. Because it’ll probably be mentioned frequently as you read about the Life of an Idiot. The Performing Arts Company (PAC) is really important to me and this huge project that I’ve undertaken will be my goodbye to the program that introduced me to acting.

My One Act is called: The Pan Complex. I’m going to be co-writing and co-directing this play with a good friend of mine, Erica. She’s only in 8th Grade but she has an impressive writing ability. I’m immensely happy to be working with her and you can’t even imagine how ecstatic I was when she agreed to take on this project with me. We’re only on the first draft right now, though, working on editing the rough edges. I don’t expect the play to reach the potential I want it to achieve until late Winter, early Spring. Although, with a talented kid like Erica by my side, who knows how fast the process could go. But, as Erica reminds me, we can’t rush something like this. And she’s right. I guess I’m just a little excited.

The Pan Complex will be something that Erica and I get the honor of building together. We started with next to nothing, only a few fleeting ideas. By this Spring, it’ll be a show with a set and actors and music and a stage and a crowd and props and lighting and…I can’t wait. I’m excited to share our project with the community, we’ve already worked so hard on it and my Senior year hasn’t even started yet.

I’m going to take a vow: I won’t divulge too much information on The Pan Complex. I want the play to be fresh to anyone from the Gull Lake Community who might read this. So, I’ll be vague in my posts about the show. However, I’m not afraid to give a brief synopsis…

The Pan Complex is the story of a young girl, Eve, who is struggling with her sister’s departure to college. The primary reason for this struggle is not the sorrow of her sister going away, but fear of the fact that college and growing up are in Eve’s near future too. As she sits in her room worrying, she’s visited by her best friend, Peter, who climbs through the window. In his attempts to get her to sneak out, Peter learns of Eve’s concerns and attempts to console her. Through their conversation, Peter desperately tries to prove to Eve that growing up really isn’t that bad. Because those with a free spirit get to stay young at heart as their bodies age.

Maybe that was more than I should’ve said. Oh well. I’ll talk more about The Pan Complex in time. For now, the One Act is just a baby. But Erica and I have a lot of exciting plans about how we’re going to get it to grow up. Together, we two authors will shape something completely our own.

I can’t wait.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)