With the opening of Flight Club just under two weeks ago, many alumni returned to celebrate Mask and Wig’s 128th production and relive their own glorious college days. For a select group of 16, however, these glory days are just beginning. They are our New Guy class, a group of young men selected from an astonishingly talented candidate pool last September. We asked one freshman from each section to reflect on their experiences in the Company thus far so we too may view this remarkable organization through fresh eyes.
BAND (Kevin Myers, Bassist):
I did not intend to join the Mask and Wig Club. Embracing the 128 years of history, tradition, and fraternity was not in my original “four-year plan”. Nevertheless, after the Fall Show, I auditioned to fill the empty spot in the rhythm section. This decision immediately transformed my college experience and completely reworked my daily life. While rehearsing for seemingly countless hours can have its drawbacks, nothing beats getting to spend so much time with some of the nicest and most talented people on Penn’s campus. These people, who so quickly and warmly brought me into their lives, have made every second of my involvement with Wig worth it. From KOB to Charity Ball to Opening Night of the Spring Show, the Mask and Wig Club inserted itself into the center my life, and I could not be more thankful.
BUSINESS STAFF (Joe Maggiore):
I can honestly say that being in Mask and Wig is an experience like no other. On the outside, a Mask and Wig production seems like a well-oiled machine that functions easily and autonomously. However, from the perspective of a New Guy, the production is one that requires an insane amount of work from everyone involved. After putting in hours upon hours of work into the production, we get to enjoy the next three months of putting on the show each weekend for audiences of our families, friends, long-time supporters and those experiencing our comedy for the first time. To me, this organization functions as both a performance ensemble but also a unifying social group spanning decades of tradition. Being able to work with my best friends at Penn on a professional musical production has been an absolute pleasure and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
CAST (Eric Calvo):
Before I came to Penn, I hadn’t donned mask nor worn wig. I don’t think I’d ever even heard of an “all-male musical comedy troupe” before. Then, on the fateful evening of August 29th, I experienced the Mask and Wig Free Show in all its gut-busting, drag-laden glory and was quite literally dumb-founded. The prospect of being in Wig was the only thing I could think about before auditions. I knew I wanted more than anything to share the stage with the men I saw in front of me. Ever since the first bit-pitching rehearsal, being a Cast member has been a learning process. When we were piecing together Fall Show, I went from having zero experience writing comedy to having marginally more experience and at least some sense of comedic… timing. Spring Show rehearsals have taught me to roll with the punches (and sometimes tackles) and to always be faster, louder, and funnier at the times when I want to give up. The fact that I’m helping to build up a never-before-seen musical is mind-boggling enough to inspire me to push onward. In the spare moments I had at the Clubhouse, I found myself staring at the walls, soaking in 128 years of history and guidance that came before me. I’ve learned volumes about the significance of Wig since I came to Penn. More importantly, I’ve realized an incredible amount about who I am because of my fellow company members. All that being said, there’s still so much more that I don’t even know yet on both fronts.
STAGE CREW (David Zhao):
I’m a pretty terrible New Guy. I regularly forget to wear safety glasses, I can hardly hold a drill straight (refer to Charles [Hussey, another New Guy]), and I am currently writing this reflection nearly two days after it was due. I guess it’s true what they say: stupid New Guys don’t know how to do anything right. I’ve come to realize, however, that these mistakes and challenges are an essential part of the New Guy experience. In Wig, there’s always an SYG ready to share advice or a Clubbie waiting to offer guidance. There’s just enough room for error that we New Guys have the chance to learn, grow, and preserve our posteriors from out-and-out obliteration. Seriously though, Mask and Wig is by far the best thing that has happened to me at Penn, and I don’t say that lightly; writing seminar was a pretty phenomenal experience, too. Every day I find myself more and more proud of what we, as one, big ole’ company can accomplish. I am grateful and humbled, and I cannot stress enough how important it is to stretch. (That last item was a note to self.)
Whether you are a long-time supporter or a first-time fan, come experience Flight Club for yourself, and if you see a New Guy, be sure to remind them that they don’t even know what’s in store over their next three years!