Piedmont theater professor John Spiegel directs students by day and knights on the battle field by night.
John has always loved the renaissance era. He has studied many of the aspects of such a lifestyle and learned many of the skill people used then. “I’ve always been intrigued by the deep sense of becoming one with nature,” he said. “I know it sounds crazy but somehow it always comes back to living that simple life.”
Spiegel’s current life as a theater professor at Piedmont has kept him busy – not able to spend as much time as he would like in what he refers to as the “simple life.” His days are mixed with show preparation, class structuring and performance evaluations – hardly a free moment for simplicity.
Spiegel makes time for simple life through his annual trips around the country to Pennsic – an event based on the medieval era. Visitors show up with tents, weapons and enough food to get through a week.
“When I go to Pennsic, I get to be who I always dreamed I would be: the knight – in beat up armor,” he said.
Students recognize the knight-like qualities of their professor. “John is the real deal. He truly is royalty – and it shows in his fighting.” said Mike Adams – Junior.
“Yes it is true. My brother is an actual count,” Spiegel said. “Maybe that’s why I love to dress up in armor so much.”
John practices his fighting skills weekly with the Medieval and Renaissance Society club on campus. The group straps on real plate armor and trains as a unit with swords and shields. They participate in arts and science studies from the era as well as heraldry.
“At the end of the day, I am the knight.” he said. “It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”