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)

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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)