The Wolf Street Journal
Welcome to the re-launching of our online blog, The Wolf Street Journal, a place where students and staff come together to share their thoughts on and experiences at Wolf Performing Arts Center. My hope for this blog is to see inside the creative minds of our community and allow them to tell you their own stories, their own way.
Through anecdotes, memories, social media takeovers, and other brilliant ways of letting you in, you'll be able to get the inside scoop on the myriad of programs we do here, how they benefit these young minds, and more.
We hope you'll keep coming back and refresh the page.
February 19, 2020
Valentine(s) to Theatre by Izzy Levit
I remember standing in the mirror when I read our names side by side. I couldn’t fathom what forces had brought us together: how I’d gotten so lucky to end up with you. I looked at my reflection, and when no other reasoning fit, I’d said, “Well somebody’s gotta do it.”.
Now, I know I didn’t do you the justice back then that I could now, so it got me thinking; Wanna give us a second chance? Be my Valentine, please?
I was pining after you from the moment I met you. I’d hoped and holed-up and hyperventilated waiting to see if you’d be the one for me, and you can only imagine how absolutely dazed I was when I realized that we’d actually get to work together.
I remember touring to high schools with you, and when I’d introduce myself to the audience, they never believed that you were with a sixth grader.
You taught me about observing the world around me, about seeing the difference in peoples’ lifestyles, and not judging those differences.
You helped me consider a newer world, one I’d only ever heard of but never opened my arms to.
When I realized how me it really was, you led me head first into… myself: Someone unchanged, yet so much more… out.
You still give me butterflies y’know...
You taught me so much. More than you can imagine.
You were one of my hardest learning experiences, and you’d baffle me time and time again. I hadn’t ever felt so out of options with someone, and it scared me.
I could never grasp on to who you were, and every time I thought I was getting close, you’d seem to do something entirely out of character— no pun intended.
You were the one that (almost) got away, but then something cleared up. I knew that I had to take a hard look in the mirror for you, and learn to understand not just you, but what mattered to you, so I did.
I hope I mattered to you like you ended up mattering to me.
Maybe we could guide each other once more, just for the heck of it?
You pushed me beyond my limits. Boy, did you push me. I didn’t even know I could belt as high as you were asking me to, but I’m glad you never stopped believing that I could.
We were entirely different, some would go as far to say incompatible but I am not one of those some. We just had some… creative differences. Whenever we stood next to each other our body language would convey opposite messages. Y’know I went through a lot for you; I had to address my mannerisms, my confidence, and my insecurities with my past.
But today, all I can do is thank you for it. The confidence you helped me gain was a gift I could’ve only dreamed of. Not to mention you helped me give the piano an honest second chance.
Would you consider joining me for a duet sometime?
Someone once pointed out that they liked us together because I was my most confident self when I was with you. It hadn’t even occurred to me why I had enjoyed your company so much. You made me feel cool.
I’d put on that jacket you got me and my entire perspective would change. I felt like I could do anything; I was on top of the world with you.
I could nail something first try, and get back up if I did it wrong: you never told me no. So how could I ever say no to you? I even ran when you asked me to.
I felt so smooth, so in control, so likeable. Part of me always knew it was thanks to you.
I think we always belonged together, you wacko.
Happy Valentine’s day! We’ve been together for almost thirteen years now. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it has certainly been entertaining. There were a few years we didn’t speak at all, and they were some of the hardest of my life. There were years when I saw you for twelve hours every day, and those were just as hard. Now, though, I feel like we’ve settled down together. I’m ready to commit my life to you, Theatre. You are the Thing Two to my Thing One, the Wendy to my Peter, the Hermia to my Lysander. You’ve stuck with me through elementary school, where I obsessed over fairies and mermaids and mystery. You’ve stayed with me through middle school, where I learned what betrayal was – outside of a Disney musical. You’re with me now as I clamber on through high school, drained and and hungry and clawing for something out of reach, something you’ve promised to give me one day. There will come a day, Theatre, when I don’t need you anymore, when I stay with you because I want to and not because I have to. There will come a day like that, Theatre, but today is not that day. I need you, Theatre, to wrap your arms around me at the end of the day and tell me it’s okay. It’s okay that I struggled in statistics and it’s okay that I wanted to cry a few times because now I am here and I get to dissolve into you for a while. That’s all I need.
A Poem to Theatre by Sam Klein
January 9, 2020
For this month's Wolf Street Journal post, we are celebrating A Midsummer Night's Dream opening!
Since we are presenting two very different adaptations, we decided to interview Puck from each show....
December 9, 2019
Author: Molly Yablonovitz, Wolf PAC student
I have been acting for the better part of eight years. I began at a small company where most of us had no idea how to act or sing but then, about two years ago, I switched to Wolf PAC. My first audition was for Suessical, and to be honest, I was pretty intimidated. Everyone was already friends, and so incredibly talented. But also unbelievably nice - they made me feel welcome right from the start.
My experience only got better from there, and as I spent more time at Wolf PAC I began to feel like I belonged. I bonded with everyone in my casts, whether they were a lead or an ensemble role, and I even got close with directors I didn’t even have, simply because they were the one to do my hair.
Since I was relatively new, I only had smaller roles but I had been happy with them. Wolf PAC helped me not care about what part I played. As long as I could be a part of this community I was happy.
Then I auditioned for Charlotte’s Web. I did think that callbacks went well, at least I hoped they had, but I didn’t want to think that I would get Charlotte, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Then the cast list was released.
The story of how I found out I got Charlotte is a good example of what an awesome environment Wolf PAC is.
There is a girl who has been at Wolf PAC for a while, and we both go to the same school. During the process of callbacks, we texted a bit. The usual small talk, “break a leg”, “hope you do well”, “you were so good” the usual overwhelming support that is what makes Wolf PAC so special. The day after callbacks she texts me during school. “Congratulations. I’m so proud of you!” My heart stopped momentarily. Maybe I just got a secondary role. Maybe she’s proud because now I’ll have more than a handful of speaking lines.
I battled against poor cell-phone service as I pulled up the cast list. I stared at it for a good amount of time before it set in. There was my name at the top of the list. I had actually gotten a lead. I was Charlotte.
Once the shock wore off, anxiety set in. It was a lot of lines and would require a lot of work. I would be working with people who had been leads before in other shows, people I had looked up to. I would be needed for a lot of rehearsals and I wasn’t sure how well my schedule would hold up. Besides, I had become content with ensemble roles.
As it turned out, I shouldn’t have worried. Everyone in my cast is quirky, and weird, and amazingly talented. Every time I walk into Wolf PAC I have to smile because I just love it here. The two hours a day twice a week is beginning to feel like not enough. Even if I’m not in the scene we’re rehearsing I don’t feel bored. Whether I’m watching others work or working myself it’s a wonderful process, bringing a show to life.
Even after being in just three shows, Wolf PAC has become so special to me. It’s a place that makes me feel safe and happy. A place that helped me through hard times in my life. A place that makes me feel like I belong. A place that makes me smile whenever I think about it. A place that’s less of a place, and more of a home.
November 18, 2019
Author: Janine Merolla
“Being a teenager, man.”
That’s how a lot of conversations I witness at Wolf PAC start. First one kid, then two, then seven are populating my desk as I’m trying to finish an email and transition smoothly to our rehearsals in the Black Box. But I hear the sigh of frustration that punches through their words and I stop and listen. I imagine it’s the first time anyone did that that day. Stop and listen.
I’ve often asked the kids who come to Wolf PAC what it is that makes them feel so comfortable here. Why is it that they call this place their second home? Most of them tell me it’s hard to describe; they can say a lot of wonderful, positive things about it but they can’t pinpoint the why of what makes it so special to them. They are some of the most brilliant people I know, so if they can’t put it into words, I don’t know how the heck I can.
I was clueless as a teenager. Don’t get me wrong: I thought I should be in my own television show because of my brilliant, wry observations about the world but now that I’ve zoomed out just a tick, I realize that it wasn’t the world I was commenting on; it was my world. My bubble. Teenagers today? They have no choice but to be faced with the real world. The whole world. The kids I know take that on as a huge responsibility. They do not retreat from the parts of life that are messy and hard, but that doesn’t make those parts less messy or hard.
Do you remember being a teenager? I do. I remember that all it took was a certain kid with unspeakable, unexplained power to make one move and the rest of the class wouldn’t speak to me for days or weeks. One time a girl told me TO my face that the only reason I was on this planet was because my parents needed a babysitter for my better sister. Bullies are everywhere and always have been. But they’ve shifted from punching kids at recess when my parents were teenagers to shifty side-eye and rumors when I was growing up and now they show up in a snapchat or a twitter thread. But the end result is still ugly, still pointlessly evil. Bullies still exist, and no one is more exciting to a bully than an emotional, vulnerable, truthful person who isn’t afraid to be themselves. Uh-oh. Welcome to the world of theatre kids.
These teenagers that I have the pleasure of seeing twice a week at my rehearsals are tired. They are tired from schoolwork and tests and thinking about the future and remembering to eat dinner and making sure their parents know where they are and THEN they are frustrated because they weren’t paid attention to or someone made them feel stupid or no one sat with them at lunch or ever listens when they talk or they got broken up with and they bring their tired, frustrated selves to Wolf PAC and open up their scripts and look up at me, eyes wide and ready, because here, they don’t hear words of discouragement or unease. They are listened to and heard and valued and raised up. They are told they are important and that they matter. We tell them because it’s true. We see their vulnerability and their emotions and their truthful selves and we mirror it with our own pain and joy. We make a circle (a theatre person’s favorite shape) to look into each other’s eyes and acknowledge that yeah, today was probably a rough one, but how lucky are we to be here with each other and be tired together? Then, they get up and pretend to be someone else and yet it’s the closest they feel to themselves.
But Wolf PAC believes in them. We believe in the power they have. The unspeakable, unexplained power that drives those bullies also drives these heroes, these genuine kids who move through the world with kindness and love. We need them now more than ever. When they are at Wolf PAC, they feel like leaders without having to change anything about themselves. They move through space with confidence and strength and it is a powerful thing to watch. They come here as tired, exasperated teens and leave as champions of one another. Such is the power and connection of working in theatre.
So, yeah, it’s hard to describe what Wolf PAC does for a kid. But I’ve seen it for myself and that’s why I’m still here with them. Because if they’re going to save the world, I am more than willing to show them how to wield their power for good.