The Pan Complex: A Tale of Peter and Eve

“To Live would be an awfully big adventure.”

“An adventure well worth taking.”

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

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

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

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

I could go on all day.

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

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

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

The Festival Upon Us

May 7, 2013

The Festival Upon Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trinity

April 19, 2013

The Trinity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Call to Arms

March 23, 2013

A Call to Arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

A Sister Like Molly

February 27, 2013

A Sister Like Molly

Last night, my family and I went to a production of Hair at Miller Auditorium.

The treacherous, snowy roads did little to dampen our spirits as we made for a little restaurant called the Roadhouse, just five minutes from the theatre. After a quick dinner, we hurried off to see the show.

The show itself was great. I enjoyed the music and I thought the singing was really good  The play was interactive and the audience was responsive, which is always fun. The story followed that of a free-spirited tribe and their struggle with one of their numbers being drafted into the army.

The highlight of the night, however, was during the curtain call. The cast members took their bow and then started to pull audience members on stage to dance with them. Molly and I laughed as we saw Mom get pulled up. A few seconds later, another actress reached out to us across a few rows of chairs.

“Oh, boy,” Molly chuckled.

I turned to Molly and grinned. As a thespian to an artist, as a brother to a sister, I said:

“C’mon. We’re goin’ up there,” I grabbed her hand and pulled her down the aisle until we reached the stairs to the stage.

We trotted up the steps and took our place amongst the dozens of other people dancing.

“I hate you,” Molly laughed.

It was amazing. The phrase: “Too much fun” comes to mind. I felt so unbelievably unabashed, even though I’m sure my dancing was terrible enough to make the shows choreographer cry. Lights were flashing, music was playing, and a huge crowd was cheering loudly for us.

It was in that instant that I realized how lucky I am to have A Sister Like Molly.

Molly and I were like every other brother-sister pairing when we were younger. We despised each other. She still occasionally brings up the fact that I used to be a little bit of a biter. But it wasn’t too long before that attitude disappeared. In recent years, I’d say Molly is one of my closest friends. That doesn’t mean, however, that she’s not afraid to chase me around the house, pin me down, and Charley-Horse my leg whenever I tease her.

But I owe Molly some thanks for a lot more than the countless bruises she put on my leg. When I was entering High School as a Freshman, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things. It was thanks to Molly that I didn’t completely embarrass myself on multiple occasions. (For example: When I asked a girl to Homecoming.) To any parents out there with younger children, your second child’s best chance at having a successful High School career is their older sibling. The first child’s just gonna have to tough it out on their own.

Luckily, Molly is plenty tough enough to handle anything Life throws her way.

Molly is a kind, caring, funny, relatable sibling. She makes me look at countless classic siblings and smile…because I know what it feels like to have a friend like that.

I know how Ron feels about Ginny.

I know how Jem feels about Scout.

I know how Orville feels about Wilbur.

I somewhat have a slight idea about Kim’s feelings towards Kourtney.

So, while I suppose I’ve always known that I was fortunate to have A Sister Like Molly…it sometimes takes dancing on stage together in a touring Broadway show to fully realize it.

-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)

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

This Friday, I’ll be auditioning at Western Michigan University. I’ll be performing two monologues, the first from The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon-Marigolds and the second from Moon Over Buffalo. Both of these monologues are from plays that Mr. Nott assigned me to read this trimester.

The monologue from Moon Over Buffalo is one man’s last ditch effort to make his wife realize how much he loves her. It’s relatively comedic and fun. While I do really love this monologue…It doesn’t even hold a candle to how I feel about the monologue from The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-the-Moon-Marigolds.

I can still remember the day Mr. Nott placed that torn, old script into my hand. I read the title and laughed. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it.

I could talk all day about the play as a whole, but I’d like to focus on a curious idea presented in the monologue that I’ve chosen to perform. The monologue is about the realization that we are all miracles. The character, Tillie, muses at the idea that she is comprised of atoms that were once other things. Things that were more special and amazing than she could even conceive. And if she’s made of these special atoms…then she must be pretty special herself.

While that in itself is a pretty cool idea, I’d like to try and take things a step further…

Our Universe follows many laws. The law I’d like us to focus on is the Law of the Conservation of Mass, which states that matter cannot be created or destroyed. It’s impossible. Every bit of matter that exists in the Universe has always been here and it will always be here. The atoms that make up your body or your chair or your phone or your computer…have been in this Universe for all of forever.

Now, I’d like to turn your attention to the Big Bang Theory. I’m no scientist (I’m still mucking my way through AP Chemistry) but I think I understand the gist of the theory. It says that at one point in time, everything was condensed into a singular point. That…”Universe-in-a-box” was wound up a little too much, I suppose, because it exploded and expanded into the Universe we know and love.

Maybe you see where I’m going with this and maybe you’re thinking: “Well, duh. I knew that.” But I’m just realizing this and I think it is the coolest thing since sliced bread…Or before sliced bread? I dunno. Anyway…

Combining the ideas in this law and theory result in only one conclusion: At one point in time, you and I were crushed into the same speck. All of us. All that we know and everything beyond that. We were all crammed into an inconceivably dense ball. Even your parents were there…and your grandparents…and your great-grandparents. Your entire ancestry and my entire ancestry and that tree outside and the air you just breathed and the food you ate earlier and the car you drove…It was all there with us in that speck.

And…That’s kind of cool. Don’t you think? The atoms that make up me and the atoms that make up you used to hang out way back in…the beginning of the Universe.

From my atoms to yours, it’s good to chat with you again.

-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 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)