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Nolan Robinson, ETHS Class of 2017, is a man with ambition, goals and a mix of proactivity and patience, destined to accomplish whatever he sets his sights on. Currently he is a junior at Northwestern, majoring in Computer Science and Theatre, with a Music Theatre Certificate, scheduled to graduate in 2021.
Mr. Robinson is busy performing within Northwestern’s theater community. Last year he performed in the 2019 Waa-Mu Show, For the Record. Currently he is performing in Legally Blonde: The Musical. After a Sunday matinee performance in Norris Student Center on campus, he talked about the short film musical he had written, which he also plans to produce, direct and act in and which also includes lyrics from some of his own songs. The title of the film is “The Grief Nightclub.”
The project, as Mr. Robinson envisions, it is less than 30 minutes in length with a very tight production schedule, mostly filmed and recorded over three weekends in April to accommodate student actors’ class schedules. It will include 20 actors and 15 orchestral musicians, a professional sound technician, and may even include voiceover assistance from actress Jennifer Grey. Mr. Robinson’s charm and genuine friendships have helped recruit each of these talents, most of whom are volunteering their time and services.
The film is an active exploration of personal issues Mr. Robinson is confronting, including identity, mental health, mortality and “and the power of acknowledging weakness to make way for strength.” The act of asking for help, particularly as a young man, is fraught with cultural and societal issues, but The Grief Nightclub confronts them directly.
The script is raw, emotionally honest and empathetic. Mr. Robinson emphasizes he wants his life and the lives of others to have meaning, and he is open to sharing his journey and struggles. He believes that by sharing his experiences, he not only is able to control his own narrative, but also offer hope to others.
As an actor, a musician, a writer, Mr. Robinson is used to communicating and sharing his thoughts and feelings, believing “Emotional honesty is at the core of being an actor.” Part of his exploration through The Grief Nightclub is an attempt to “learn about how to build for the future, but while enjoying and loving the present.”
The premier is scheduled for June 6 at a location to be determined on Northwestern’s campus.