By Henry Jaques
Every time the Freeport High School Drama Department offers up a couple of tragedies, it becomes necessary to offer up a comedy. That is, according to Jordan Grotz, this year’s playwright for Freeport’s One Act production.
“My one act is a farcical comedy set in a hotel during the 1970s,” Grotz explains. “Henrietta and Doris, two maids, find a body in the hotel, and it sets off a whole series of crazy events as people try to figure out what’s going on.”
The production was first conceived when Grotz was in an independent study for playwriting his sophomore year. He took thisindependent study with Simon Handelman, one of Grotz’s closest friends at Freeport.
“We took an independent playwriting study together and his stuff was always drop–dead comedy,” said Handelman.
Coming from Dubuque Iowa, Grotz’s appreciation for theater began early on. The first production Grotz was ever apart of was in 2008. He was in Peter Pan, in which he played one of the lost boys. “I was too scared to audition on my own, so my friend John and I sang a duet.” Grotz explains. “That was back in 2008 or 2009. Ever since then I have been involved in a multitude of productions, acting or being behind the scenes.”
Grotz moved from Iowa to Freeport shortly before he began his freshman year. Moving to a new school is always an intimidating experience for a student, and there was no exception for Grotz. He admits that he was terrified to be in such a foreign place. But these fears quickly evaporated, as he found his place among the theater community. Grotz said, “The theater community is so welcoming and you form bonds as a family.”
“I originally met Jordan in a study hall freshman year,” said Handelman. “At first our relationship was all about competition, not the loving and nurturing friendship it is now. Then again we were just silly freshman back then.”
Outside of theater, Jordan indulges himself in a multitude of activities. His set of hobbies include painting, music, writing, miniature modeling,video games, and hanging out with friends. In Grotz words, “Perhaps I’ll take a break from one to focus on another, but the core hobbies have always stayed in my life.”
However, it doesn’t look like Grotz will pursue theater as a profession. He claims that he will want to still be part of the theater community throughout college and perhaps contribute to local productions after college.
According to Handelman, “The Grotz family has made serious contributions to the Freeport performing arts department. Grotz and his family are pillars of the Freeport Performing Arts community. Freeports shows would not be possible without them. I shudder to think what is going to happen next year without Jordan and his family.”
Grotz says he wants to study electrical engineering in college and later pursue a master’s degree in robotics. Though Grotz said that he is not completely committed to this decision. “My passions are changing, so who knows if this will be what I want to study,” said Grotz. “ I’ve always had an interest in robotics, and now is my time to see if I can pursue it.” Grotz is considering Dartmouth, MIT, and other prestigious universities to attend after high school.
Grotz is very thrilled to see his new play take off, as is the rest of the theater community. However Grotz and Handelman still have some worries for the production. Jordan is primarily concerned that some of the audience won’t find his script funny.
“Comedy is a tough act to pull off correctly,” Grotz explained. “Everyone has a different sense of humor, so it is a hit or miss if someone will like it.”
Handelman is more concerned with direction in this production. In the previous years, the one act has been directed by the student who writes the play along with Tim Ryan, one of our teachers. This year however, they will be joined by Simon Sköld, our drama teacher and musical director.
According to Handelman, “I am a little worried there may be too many cooks in the kitchen. I know from experience sometimes more directors is not the same as more direction.” Yet Handelman still believes that Jordan’s show will be a fantastic production for Freeport.
In Handelman’s own words, “I believe Jordan can do anything he sets his beautiful mind to.”