This past Friday, I attended Pig Iron’s APT commencement for their inaugural class of 2013, and it was the most interesting graduation ceremony I’ve ever attended. For one thing, it was intimate and Quinn Bauriedel, the school’s artistic director, had something special to say about each of the 15 students now going off into the big bad world (with immense opportunities and fabulous wonders of course!).

After attending the students’ performances on the three nights before, I could see that this class has set a very high standard for all upcoming classes, which I thought to myself, and as Barney would say — AWESOME, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Although admittedly I was slightly jealous and overwhelmed when the sweet students presented a clown nose sculpture pinned to the school’s wall as a departing gift for the faculty. Most importantly, however, I saw the bond the students have all shared with one another and their beloved teachers, concluding that not only have they grown a lot as artists, they have made meaningful relationships here, which I believe are some of the most valuable treasures in life. Furthermore, here are some things I learned from the speeches given by the faculty members during the ceremony:

  • The importance of darkness. We’re spending more time in the light (as technology begins to pervade more and more of our lives) so it is important to spend some time in the darkness, both figuratively and literally, and I guess to realize some things about yourself/your wants and embrace them just as much as if you were in the light. In other words, it seems to be a bit harder to just “know” in the darkness because well you don’t know what’s in the darkness you’re grabbing hold of. However, light is just as much as an illusion (as proven by quantum physics) so both fields, whether dark or light, is fair game right?
  • The importance of silence. From my own past experiences, silence slows you down a bit, and I do believe that’s always a good reality check from time to time.
  • Everything concrete or materialized starts with a question. So ask yourself a lot of questions as you begin to set a pebble (and don’t just slab some gigantic rock anywhere. It will be hard to undo once you have to!).
  • Become what you are, says Emmanuelle. Oh, how I love the minimalist!
  • Plato: You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a lifetime of conversation. Again, from past experiences, I have witnessed over and over again the wonders of human compassion and humanity through a mere collaborative act of creativity and performance. And that’s about anything — from a spotlight role on stage to an impromptu jam session with a friend.

I’m looking forward to training here, and I already have a very good impression of the school. I mean c’mon, the first piece of furniture I saw was a piano before entering a huge, high-ceiling rehearsal space. Who wouldn’t want to be here to create theatre?

Also, these students are just plain awesome and talking to them revealed to me how interesting their lives were (ex. Alex Bechtel is a composer/sound designer and  Alice Yorke has performed internationally in Paris!).