The Reflection

When I was a Freshman, Gull Lake High School ran a school year based on semesters. Nowadays, we run on trimesters. But back when we were on semesters, kids used to be able to do this thing called “Double Blocking”. Double Blocking was when you took one class in the first semester (say…Freshman English) and then, in order to get ahead of the game and hopefully reach AP level classes in that subject, you would take the next class up in the second semester (say…Sophomore English.) Well, I did that my Freshman Year. I took Freshman English…and then Sophomore English.

This decision was filled with Pros and Cons…

Pros:

-I was advancing my education in a subject area I enjoyed

-It would create an opportunity to take both AP English classes over two years (one in my Junior Year and one in my Senior Year.)

-I got to have English year-round

-I had Mrs. Jolin as my Sophomore English teacher. (We’ll get to why that’s especially important for this blog.)

Cons:

-I believe that English is the class where you bond the most with your classmates…and I missed out on a lot of that experience with my grade. I never got to see my classmates get assigned parts to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I never got giggle with my peers as we heard a teacher say the “f-word” in Catcher in the Rye. I never got to discuss Lord of the Flies with the Class of 2013. I never got to have all of those English class experiences with members of my grade. (Of course, I have AP Literature this year with a lot kids from my grade…but one year doesn’t make up for the two I’m missing.)

-I was a super shy Freshman surrounded by Sophomores I didn’t know

-I made a complete fool of myself on multiple occasions

Anyway, the most important thing to pull from my Pros and Cons list was that I had Mrs. Jolin as my teacher for Sophomore English. Because that was the first time I was introduced to the possibility of being a member of The Reflection‘s staff. The Reflection is the school newspaper at Gull Lake High School and Mrs. Jolin is the advisor that oversees it’s operations.

So, I’m in Mrs. Jolin’s class and she sort of suggested that I should sign up to be in Newspaper the next year. I filled out the paperwork to take the class…but when it came time to actually make my course requests for the next year, I realized I couldn’t fit it in anywhere.

And then I did something really embarrassing.

I had to tell Mrs. Jolin that I wasn’t signed up for the next year of newspaper. But I felt like I would be letting her down if I told her. I sat there every day in class wondering how I should bring it up to her. One day, we had this assignment where we had to write a poem and read it in front of the class…I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea, but I wrote my poem as an apology to Mrs. Jolin that I wouldn’t be in Newspaper next year. And I read that…in front of the whole class.

Maybe it really wasn’t as humiliating as I remember it…I suppose time does tend to distort our memories.

Anyway, I eventually became a member of The Reflection. This year, in fact, I took Newspaper for the first trimester. And I’m glad I did.

Mrs. Jolin has a very kind, quirky nature and that makes her really fun to work with. I suppose I am a little sad that I don’t have another trimester or that I didn’t take the class earlier. But I think My Time With The Reflection was well spent.

I wrote some articles. I made some acquaintances. I interviewed some people. I took some pictures. And, towards the end of the trimester, Mrs. Jolin even put a link to this blog on the newspapers website…which was pretty nice.

In the end, The Reflection was definitely the right way to start off my Senior Year and I’m really glad that I took the class. I’m glad Mrs. Jolin took the time to tell me to sign up. It’s only a week into the new trimester and I already kind of miss marching into Mrs. Jolin’s room everyday, knowing that the entire class time is being given to me and I can spend it working at whatever pace I please.

But as much as I feel this regret that I didn’t take more of the class…I also feel a certain sense of completion. Like the amount of time I spent with The Reflection was the right amount of time.

I am content.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t wait.

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