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)

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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)

15 Plays Later

March 7, 2013

15 Plays Later

When this trimester began, I was put in a class called: “Guided Study”. This class was created to give students who struggle with classwork some extra time to study. I’m there as a member of NHS and I help the kids with their homework when they need it.

When they don’t need it, however, Mr. Nott and I discuss plays that he’s assigned me to read. Since the trimester started, I’ve read 15 plays. And they’ve all been so unbelievably good.

Death of a Salesman

Equus

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds

The Runner Stumbles

I Hate Hamlet

Fools

Moon Over Buffalo

Mother Hicks

Step on a Crack

Selkie

Dark of the Moon

The Miracle Worker

The Glass Menagerie

Wait Until Dark

And The Foreigner

I’ve visited rural, southern towns plagued by superstition in plays like Mother Hicks or Dark of the Moon. I’ve been taken to fast-moving, city apartments in Moon Over Buffalo or Wait Until Dark. I’ve laughed at absurdly satirical comedies like I Hate Hamlet and Fools. I’ve been intrigued by thought-provoking dramas like Equus and The Glass Menagerie. Mr. Nott even had me delve into the world of plays for children with works like Selkie and Step on a Crack. He told me that: “Plays for children must be better than plays for adults. Kids have an ability to understand great Truth, more than we think they can. Most kids nowadays are malnourished, they aren’t given the kind of entertainment that helps them grow.”

While every single play has been amazing…I don’t know if any of them topped The Effect of Gamma Rays. If I had to choose a favorite, that would be it. In fact, if you ever come across a copy of the play, snatch it up. Read it.

Unfortunately, the trimester is rapidly coming to a close. Pretty soon, I’ll have to say good-bye to the kids. Luckily, Mr. Nott and I have discussed letting me continue my play reading even after I leave the class. I mean, he’s got this huge crate full of all his favorite plays and I’d love to read them all…There’s only one problem…

With this trimester ending, more and more Seniors are talking about the end of High School. And it’s made me realize that I can postpone thinking about the end all I want but it’ll still be there. I can keep reading plays in the third trimester…But that’ll end eventually. So, maybe the crate will go unfinished.

While that could be a depressing thought…I suppose I should just be happy that I was given the amazing opportunity to (somewhat) have an Independent Study of Drama in my Senior Year. What PAC Rat wouldn’t want that?

For now, I’ll just ask Mr. Nott to keep piling the plays on. I’ll deal with the end when it gets here.

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

The Promise

February 16, 2013

The Promise

In my very first post on this blog, I promised to tell the Truth. And I plan to uphold that Promise…Even though there are times that I’d rather not.

While I’d rather not write about my audition, I feel like if I wrote about anything else today…I’d be lying. It’s not that I’m upset about the results of the audition, I guess I’d just rather not talk about it. But I’ve got to.

Yesterday, I auditioned for Western Michigan University’s theatre program and it didn’t go so well. I didn’t make the cut for callbacks, which meant my audition journey was over before noon. I suppose there were a few hours where I wasn’t feeling totally top notch but, in general, I feel fine.

And I feel fine for one reason: I’ve got no one to blame but myself. And while it might be easier to wallow in self pity, that’s not going to do me any good. That’s not going to help me become a better person. Instead, I’m busy planning for my audition next Spring.

Maybe the fact that I’m planning to audition again makes me delusional. Maybe it means I can’t take a hint. Maybe it means I don’t have quite the grip on reality that I wish I had…But audition I must.

I’m going to do it, I’m going to audition again.

Right now, the course is illuminated before me. Go to Western. Get involved in theatre. (An option still available, despite the fact that I won’t be a Theatre Major.) And audition for the Spring semester.

What kind of Wiegand would I be if I gave up the first time I was rejected?

My Dad proposed three times before Mom said: “Yes.”

So, for now, I’m going to take that rejection letter from Western and hang it up on my wall. I’m going to hang it up as a reminder that I’ve got a lot of room to grow, and I’m willing to put in the work that will help me grow.

I suppose I wasn’t ready to come out of training just yet. I’ve got more to learn.

-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)

The Assignment

December 27, 2012

The Assignment

Currently, my first block is a Guided Study class that takes place in Mr. Nott’s room. I’m there as a member of NHS and I tutor the kids in the class that struggle with completing their homework. It’s actually a lot of fun. I’ve had a few really, really great classes in my High School career, and this class is certainly up there in my favorites.

The kids are great. Mr. Nott is always fun to be around. I’m learning a lot from the experience. And I’ve also been given a very special Assignment.

Mr. Nott offered to let this Guided Study class double as an Independent Study class for me and I jumped at the opportunity. An Independent Study in Drama? Can you say: “Dream come true”? So, Mr. Nott started assigning me plays to read on the side. So far, I’ve read Death of a Salesman, Equus, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, and The Runner Stumbles. And they’ve all been really, really good. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me. A man who’s spent his entire Life working in the dramatic arts probably has a pretty great idea of which plays are good and which are bad.

I remember the first day of class when he proposed this idea to me…

“Brian, I was thinking about assigning you a few plays to read…try and see if I can get you interested in studying theatre.”

“Oh, that’s what I was planning.”

“Good. Good. Then I’ve got a few plays that you’ll need to read before going off to college.”

“That sounds great, Mr. Nott.”

And since then, I’ve read four plays. And I can’t wait to read more. Probably the best part about reading these plays is that they’re always coupled with discussion sessions that Mr. Nott and I have when none of the kids need help. We pull two chairs together, sit down, and try to unwrap the layers that surround each of the plays…

I don’t really know how to describe those discussions. I know for a fact that Mr. Nott is an excellent teacher because he knows exactly how to phrase questions in a way that the answer always dawns on me like this beam of light from the heavens. Sometimes, the answer becomes so obvious and so clear to me that I start to laugh. I can’t help it. It’s always the same. It’s this weird feeling of realization I get as I finally understand what the playwright was trying to say and I get a little giddy. And I laugh. But his questions are always asked in a certain order and said in a certain way that I’m guided to the answer that I must have somewhat known all along but I never would have realized without Mr. Nott’s help.

It all kinda reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The way that Charlie receives novels from his English teacher and he reads through them and turns in essays for all of them. Luckily, I don’t have to write essays about all these plays. Nor do I have to read entire novels. It’s pretty easy to burn through a play in just a few hours. A novel is a much larger task.

Anyway, I’m so happy that Mrs. Stanton (the NHS advisor) placed me in that Guided Study class. I’m so happy Mr. Nott is taking the time to kindle the fire of my interest in theatre.

I can’t wait to see what play he’s going to give me next.

-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)

The Wisdom of Mr. Nott

December 13, 2012

The Wisdom of Mr. Nott

So, up until this year, PAC has been directed by Mr. Nott.

Mr. Nott is the Drama/Theatre Teacher at Gull Lake High School. I also identify him as one of the “Greats” at Gull Lake. The Art Department Great.

And he’s really got that stereotypical Drama teacher feel to him. He’s relaxed but he cares. He can get pretty “out-there” but he always stays oddly familiar…If that makes any sense. You can usually identify him by his signature ponytail and friendly smile.

Not only does he teach Drama, he’s the proud teacher of the only Oral Traditions class in the state of Michigan. This class focuses on storytelling, an art that Mr. Nott is arguably obsessed with. There’s a quote on his door that reads: “The shortest distance between two people is a story.” And I think this fascination with stories has a lot to do with the kind of person he is.

Mr. Nott has made a Life out of working in the dramatic arts…this pretty much means that his days has been filled with telling stories. That’s all plays are, after all.

That quote reveals something else about Mr. Nott, too. I think his goal as a Teacher is to show students the ways in which humanity interacts on every level and that it isn’t extremely hard to coexist with our peers. High School is a time of hatred for a lot of kids and I think Mr. Nott works to reduce that aggression.

“The shortest distance between two people is a story.” I think he wants all of us to realize that we would all exist more harmoniously if we talked genuinely to one another. Anyway, this post wasn’t really supposed to be about Mr. Nott’s beliefs on how peace would be easily achieved.

It’s supposed to be about a speech that Mr. Nott gives at the beginning of every class.

I received this speech just a week ago, at the change of the trimester…

* * *

“Let’s pretend this is Gull Lake, our school,” Mr. Nott said, pointing to the desk in front of him. On the desk was a pitcher of water and cups. “Let’s say that this pitcher is the teacher…and these cups are all the students of Gull Lake. As you can see, these cups are all shapes and sizes. Just like the kids at this school.”

“Now, you have been told a lie about the way that school works. You probably visualize school like this…You come to school,” Mr. Nott said as he walked the cups along the desk and up to the pitcher, “and the teacher pours knowledge into you, right?” Mr. Nott demonstrated pouring the water from the pitcher into the cup.

“But that doesn’t work…Because not every kid is an open cup. Some kids…” Mr. Nott popped a lid onto the top of one of the cups, “are like this. They don’t want to learn. And no one can force them. That’s one thing you must know: No one can teach you anything. You have to be willing to learn. So, that’s why school really works like this…” He moved the cups back into their original starting position and made them toddle back up to the pitcher.

“This pitcher represents the experience that is presented in a classroom. And it’s the responsibility of the student to dive into the experience…” Mr. Nott dunked a cup into the pitcher, “and try to get as much knowledge from it as they can.”

He pulled the water-filled cup out of the pitcher.

* * *

And Mr. Nott says this to every class he has. Because he thinks it’s an important thing to hear. And he’s right. I think it’s a really good thing that he gives this demonstration.

I think it’s a really good thing that Mr. Nott came to Gull Lake High School.

It’s been an honor to be given the opportunity to work with Mr. Nott over the past 3 years. I can’t believe our time together is almost up.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The day will come that I have to say “Good-Bye” to Mr. Nott…But thankfully that day isn’t today.

-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)

And the Money Will Follow

December 4, 2012

Wallet Full of Happiness

The thing is…sometimes I struggle with the fact that I might be on a very, very stupid career path.

I mean, Dramatic ArtsTheatreActing? That’s some pretty shaky ground to stand on. I’m often troubled with thoughts of: “What if I’m not successful?” “What if I fall flat on my face?” “Where will I be then?” “What if going to college to study this is a waste of time?”

But I’m also confident that acting is my passion. When PAC season rolls around, I wake up every day eager to get school over with just so I can go to rehearsal. Just so I can take part in the creation of a play. Just so I can do what I love most.

It’s what I love most in the world…but…if I’m going to be blunt, if I’m going to be honest…the problem is: I most likely won’t make much money that way. I suppose it’s only human (or human in today’s society) to want money. I suppose it might be just human to base a lot of our Life choices on money. But I’m also trying to get over that, I’m trying to see past what monetary tag is attached to my future if I pursue acting.

See, this change in thought kinda started with my Mother. I always thought that my parents wanted me to be successful. They do. But it took me some time to realize in what way they wanted me to be successful. With the coming of Senior Year and countless college visits came talk of what I was going to major in…what I was going to do with my future. And I always told my Mom: “I’m going to try and find something marketable. I’ll find a major that will get me a job…and I’ll do acting on the side…” And that was my belief for a long time.

Fall started creeping closer and in the last weeks of Summer, I went to Cross Country Camp.

The Camp takes place in Northern Michigan and every day usually involves some kind of drive. Whether the drive takes us into town, out to a baseball game, or to some running trails, we often find ourselves in a caravan of Soccer-Mom vans.

It was during one of these drives that I had a really interesting conversation with Mrs. Arnold, the school’s Athletic Secretary. I was telling her my genius plan to “Try and find something marketable…and just do acting on the side.” And she sort of smiled and said (I’m roughly paraphrasing): “Well…there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get around to that, you know? You might get caught up in whatever it is you’re doing and…you might never get to come back to what you love. A Life in which you live for the weekends isn’t a Life worth Living.”

And I hated that she said that. Because I knew it was the Truth.

I knew she was right.

It was what my Mom had tried to tell me all along…but I guess I wasn’t always ready to hear it and accept it as the Truth that it was.

So, I began to open my mind to the possibility that I would really go study theatre. I would really take that risk.

But there was still this nagging doubt in the back of my mind. It was there whether I liked it or not. It kept saying: “The money…There won’t be any money. Your chances of being successful are too slim…” And then…well, then Mom showed me this YouTube video…(That’s a link to it.)

I hate that I was so swayed by this video, I really do. I mean, it’s just a YouTube video. How could some silly video really change the way I thought? But…it did. I watched it and I felt oddly soothed. Like my worries really weren’t anything to worry about. My worries about money and about success were trivial.

The video depicts various scenes in Manhattan and other cities sped up while Alan Watts gives a speech in the background about what we as humans are forcing ourselves to believe about money, generation to generation.

My favorite moment in the video is right at the end of Alan Watts’ recounting of the advice he gives to the students who come to him for career guidance and say they won’t pursue their true passions because they sometimes pose a threat to monetary stability.

He says:

“When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him: ‘You do that…and…forget the money.'”

And when I heard him say that the first time I watched the video, I just remember this smile forcing it’s way onto my face. He goes on to say:

“Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your Life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing…in order to go on Living…that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short Life that is full of what you like doing than a long Life spent in a miserable way.”

That’s exactly what I needed to hear. (I won’t go on to recite the rest of the video but I highly recommend you watch it.)

But I’m glad that I was shown that video…because now I’m sure that I’m doing the right thing. I mean, in the end, what is it all about? What is the number one priority on everyone’s list? What is the thing that everyone wants?

Happiness. Not just for themselves, but for the people around them, too. We want to be happy and have happiness surround us. For some, happiness comes in the form of money. But I know it can come in any form.

And that’s why I’m not afraid to major in theatre. That’s why I’m not afraid to go act. Even if I end up at the most run-down, small-town theatre in the entire world…at least I’ll be doing what I love. At least my days will be filled with happiness.

“Do what you love…and the money will follow.”

-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)