If you’ve been curious about what it’s like to be a part of the Kellogg Community College Theatre program, now would be a great time to jump in as they get ready to put on an original production written by KCC’s resident director Brad Poer.

Auditions for “Pando” will be held in the Binda Performing Arts Center at the North Avenue campus on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Friday, Feb. 2, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Those interested should choose the date that works best for them (and do not have to attend both nights) and prepare a 30-60 second memorized comedic monologue.

Ten to 13 actors will be cast in the show. You do not need to be an experienced actor or even a current KCC student to audition — just 15 years or older by the time the show opens on March 15 and willing to do a bit of physical activity and play.

“I work hard to have a mix of levels of experience and skill in all the shows we do, because oftentimes the newbies will teach the veterans more than you’d think,” Poer said.

Those cast in the show can expect to be at rehearsals for at least three to four nights per week from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There will also be two weekend rehearsals on Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10. The performances will take place March 16-17 and 22-24.

The details of the show’s content are being kept under wraps to enhance the experience for its first audiences, but Poer shed some light on the overall idea and structure of the play.

“’Pando’ is essentially six separate short one-act plays that take place in different video game universes, but are all connected in more ways than one. It’s playful and childlike, while also trying to process some very grownup truths about life,” Poer said. “It tries to show why theatre is important in the 21st century, and why empathy might be the best tool we have to help us process life and move forward.”

If you’re unsure what role you’d want to play, there’s no need to worry — any person can be cast in any role regardless of how old you are, how you identify or what you look like.

“Often being ‘right’ for a part has nothing to do with how well someone can act, but instead tends to be about things outside an actor’s control: body type, race, gender expression, age, etc.,” Poer said. “I wanted to try to make a show that was so flexible that it could look and feel like a different show every time it gets produced because the casts could be totally different and built off skill instead of just having the right look.”

Still hesitating? Don’t let fear get in the way — Poer always strives to create a relaxed and judgment-free environment where auditioners can simply be themselves and just have fun with it.

“I can’t make the experience of auditioning for a play stress-free; everyone comes into it with different fears, levels of experience, etc. But I do try to lessen the tension and stress by making things as informal and friendly and flexible as I can,” Poer said.

This sentiment is not lost on KCC’s veteran actors who come back to audition time and time again, such as Nina Gillett.

“I always feel really comfortable at auditions. Even when I’ve been nervous I still feel so comfortable because he creates this safe space where everyone feels included, welcomed, heard and appreciated. I don’t see that in a lot of other places I’ve auditioned for,” Gillett said. “Our environment always tries to include new people — we get really excited when we get new people because it means new friends and family members.”

This show is one to go down in KCC history, as Poer gears up to take the show to Scotland in August 2025. However, you do not have to sign up for the Scotland trip to be a part of this run of the show.

“The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest performance-based ticketed event on the planet. Theatre, improv, stand-up, musical reviews, street performers, acrobatics, drag performers, ventriloquists — every kind of humans performing for humans you can imagine. We’ll be there for 10 days and will perform ‘Pando’ four times while we’re there,” Poer said.

“Everyone going will help with the show in some way — no one is going just as a tourist. Those who sign up to go on the trip must be willing to take on fundraising events and pay their share of the cost of the trip either personally or through financial aid.”

More information about “Pando” can be found on the KCC Theatre Facebook page at facebook.com/KCCTheatre, and Brad Poer can be contacted at poerb@kellogg.edu.