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)

Advertisements

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)

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)

The Life of an Idiot Crest

As the year comes to a conclusion, it is wise to reflect on the past 365 days and how they have changed you.

I chose a lyric from the Mumford & Sons’ song Babel to title this post because I think it ties in well with my last year.

I don’t think I’ve ever lived a year better spent in love. Spent, of course, could have multiple meanings in this context. “Spent” as in I’ve lived in it. Or “spent” as in I’ve given it away, I’ve paid with it. And I think I can relate to both meanings.

This time last year, PAC was getting underway and I was participating in the last year of Mr. Nott. We were working on a show written by Mr. Nott entitled Dune Shadow and I’d been blessed with the opportunity to play Will. The season was spent surrounded by people who I truly cared deeply about. Friends who I still cling to today. That season, we didn’t make it past Regionals…but it was also the season that we made a trip to Saugatuck and performed the show for the schools there because it was local history. In that same day, we visited the actual ruins of Singapore, the setting of our story. It’s a shame that Mr. Nott had to retire from being PAC Director, but I’m glad that I was there to experience his last year.

As Dune Shadow ended, Track and Glitter began. And it wasn’t long until One Act auditions were being held. My third year as an MC for the High School talent show, Glitter, was spent with a group of people I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just thinking about the fun we had makes me feel all giddy. There’s really nothing like being on stage. Especially if it’s in the casual, goofy sense that surrounds Glitter MCing.

Track, of course, is not Cross Country. But what’s important is the people. And the people stay the same. Last Spring marked my fifth year running Track (if you count Middle School, which I probably shouldn’t.) It was filled, as always, with runners that I felt a deep connection with….See, it’s pretty hard to avoid becoming friends with the people who get to see you at your lowest moments. When a hard workout is close to being finished and I’m about to pass out and Jeremy or Sam or Nic or Willie or anyone comes up to me, pats me on the back, and says: “Almost done” that forms a indescribable bond. A true friend is there for your lows just as much as your highs.

One Acts were, as always, a blessing. The fact that I get to do One Acts at all stems from Coach Portis and his generosity in letting me do both One Acts and Track. Thanks to him, I got to play Carter White in Door to Door and I was given the chance to meet Jossie. Jossie played Stephanie, the only other character in our play. Another amazing thing about Coach Portis is that he comes every year to watch the performances. After our show, I went and sat next to him to thank him for letting me do this and I still remember what he told me: “Brian, it looked like you we’re having a lot of fun up there. I’m glad that I can let you do something that brings you so much joy. Good job.”

And then school ended. And Summer came. And Summer was filled with Cross Country and Carly. And this is really where I’d never felt so loved. That Summer was a balancing act as I tried to spend as much time as I could with the Cross Country Team and Carly. But it didn’t really matter how much time I spent with either because I knew it would never be enough. Eventually, Summer would end. Eventually, Carly would go off to Interlochen and the Cross Country season would conclude…at the same time, though, I was going to try and embrace every second I spent in the grace of those who I loved and loved me.

Sadly, Carly did leave.

Sadly, Cross Country did end.

“I’ll see you later.” I told Carly.

“Seniors, this’ll be your last race ever with me as your head Coach. It’s been an honor.” Coach Portis said.

Both occasions were bittersweet.

Of course, now we’re almost caught up with the present. This PAC season is barely underway but I’ve enjoyed the few rehearsals we’ve had so far and I’m excited to play Juror No. 8. Once break is over, we’ll be back at the ol’ grind, working hard to make the play the best it can be.

I suppose there’s only one last thing to talk about…and that’s this blog. And this blog has helped me with thanking those who’ve helped fill this last year with love. And I can’t help but realize that I owe everyone who surrounds me all the kindness they deserve for making 2012 one of the best years ever…because I’ve Never Lived a Year Better Spent in Love.

-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)

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)

How I Asked Her

October 7, 2012

This is a blog about my Life. Every aspect of my Life that I feel contributes to the creation of me.

Right now, a huge part of my Life as a High Schooler is Homecoming. In fact, the game is this Friday and the dance is this Saturday.

You can bet, Gull Lake is gearing up for the big event. Dresses are being bought. Plans are being made. Groups are being organized. Ties and collared shirts are being purchased. Reservations are being placed. Student Senate is “busy” planning. The administration is ordering breathalyzers from the local police. A DJ is being requested. Float building is in full swing. The parade is being planned. The football team is getting ready for the big game. And every student is either asking their date or wondering who they can ask last minute.

This week is Spirit Week with all sorts of activity like Dress-Up Days, Lunch Time Games, and the Homecoming Assembly. For those who may find it interesting, this year the Homecoming Dress-Up Days are as follows:

Monday – Come As You Are Day

Tuesday – FANdom Day

Wednesday – Sports Day

Thursday – Patriotic Day

Friday – Spirit Day

Anyway, Homecoming is sort of a big deal at Gull Lake. More specifically, how a guy asks a girl is very important. At Gull Lake, flashiness is generally rewarded with an embarrassed giggle, a smile, and a “Yes.”

Of course, whether we admit it or not, part of the reason why people go for extravagent and “flashy” invitations is so everyone else can see. It’s making a bold statement that says: “I care about this person enough to go the distance to make them feel special today. To make them feel like people are watching them with earnest interest.” And that’s really all part of the fun. There’s nothing wrong with desiring a little attention. Personally, I love to make some kind of effort when asking a girl to a dance and I enjoy making it public (maybe that’s the actor in me.) I don’t really see anything wrong with that. I’ve already done a post about how other people at Gull Lake have asked girls to dances. Today is the story of How I Asked Her.

The problem is, Carly’s up at Interlochen. She’s hours away. And despite the fact that I tried to make my invitation public, I’m not sure enough people saw. So, this is my ditch effort to make it known that I asked Carly. And that I tried to make it as cute as I could.

So, with the assistance of our friends in Band and PAC, I invited Carly to Homecoming through a series of pictures. I wanted Carly to know that we all miss her. I wanted her to know we’re always thinking about her. I wanted her to know that her friends at Gull Lake are waiting eagerly for her return. I wanted Carly to know that she’s not forgotten. I wanted her to know that we’re all rooting for her back here. I wanted Carly to know that no matter how far she is, no matter how long she’s gone, there are those of us at Gull Lake who will always care about our favorite ginger artist. And so, I mailed her the following pictures…

 

Rachel and Shelby, two friends of ours in the science hallway.

A few of our Band friends (and Shelby) sitting where we used to eat lunch.

That last one is a little bit odd. It’s supposed to be a reference to a past photo in which Jonah…You know what? Long story. Never mind.

Rachel, Grace (another good friend), and one of Carly’s favorite teachers, Mr. Minehart. This was taken during AP European History, a class Carly would undoubtedly be taking if she was at Gull Lake this year.

It says “Homecoming” for those who can’t quite make it out. The boys of the Gull Lake Cross Country Team are more than willing to help out any fellow teammate when it comes to Homecoming invitations. (Especially if it involves taking our shirts off…so we can show off how built we are. (Sarcasm.))

And that was the last picture. Me up on the cafeteria’s stage during lunch.

So, that’s How I Asked Her. That’s how I asked Carly.

Just today, she said: “Yes.”

Despite what I may like to believe, Homecoming is a large part of my Life during the Fall. It’s a large part of any High Schooler’s Life. And, this year, I decided to ask this spectacular red-headed artist to the dance. This spectacular red-headed artist who decided that she’d take a leap this year. She took a leap in transferring to one of the most prestigious arts academies in the world. I think that it can get pretty stressful for her, sometimes…So, I’m glad she can come home this Saturday and just relax for a night.

I’m glad she’s coming home for Homecoming.

I’m glad that Carly can come home for a night of horribly cliche pictures, a dinner with friends, and a dance in the High School that she will never truly be gone from…

Not while there are those of us here who keep her in mind.

-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)