I close my binder, full of photos, play bills, a worn-out script and my unreadable notes, up on the shelf in my studio with all the many plays I have written. This was a favorite. I guess at the time of each show, that particular play is my favorite. I love writing these shows for drama camp.
Friday night’s show at Lima Brighton was the culmination of another week of drama camp sponsored by LCYC. As I was introducing the show, I said, “I think it has been eight years or nine years or a hundred years, not really sure!”
We started out last Monday. It was as if it was a class reunion. Holly and Brianna were so thrilled to see so many of their friends audition for the play. They only get to see them once a year, but the theatre has a bind about itself which is different from many activities. There were a few new ones too, although I did have to have a cut-off number. Does everyone want to do drama camp? I think so! Several are signed up for next year’s camp already! We don’t even have a date!
After the shrieks and hugs and conversations, we got right to work. By noon, I introduced the new play. On Tuesday morning, we hold auditions. By Tuesday noon, the parts are given out. There really is something for everyone! By Wednesday we block and get right to work. It is an amazing journey. Thursday they are taught the dance, and a dress rehearsal. The Thursday afternoon rehearsal was a déjà vu of Hitchcock in February when the lights went out. Storms were predicted, but we were working away oblivious to the weather. It did grow dark outside…wind, rain, hail and then the power went out. It was dark on the stage where we were, of course, rehearsing. In part of our play, “The Jukebox Heist,” the lights really do go out! So, I thought, of course, it was one of our students practicing with the lights, but no, it was the real thing. And it was dark, very dark. I simply said, “Go get your phones.” Of course, they were reciting my words back to me as I do not allow phones at any rehearsal. “No, no,” I said, “go get your phones, and turn on the flashlights.” They did. We sat knee to knee on the stage rehearsing our lines of the show. Jennifer Martin, the LCYC executive director, said it was her. I assured her that it was definitely me! We finished the entire afternoon with our flashlights. Once again, as in Hitchcock, these young actors will never forget that afternoon.
By Friday morning the power was back on and we are ready to roll. I ask for no scripts on Friday morning although they could do line call. I never know how they do it exactly. I mean, it is a 40-minute show. I ask for them to learn the whole show so they know where to come in, and to cover for any one forgetting their lines. I know Holly and Brianna spend every moment, outside of camp, learning and rehearsing lines. Friday morning there were no scripts on the stage. Outstanding.
They were all back early on Friday night for costumes, make-up, last minute dance practice and just to be together. Since this show took place in a diner, we transformed the stage and the seating area to look like a diner. All the tables had red and white checked tablecloths, bubble gum adorned the tables. Jen made popcorn so everyone who came received popcorn. Jen and I also grabbed aprons to complete the scenario. Of course, there is that old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” By the time the 7:00 bell rolled around every seat was taken…every seat! They were marvelous and dare I say, adorable? Well, they were. It was an outstanding show with a standing ovation. What more could I ask for?
I love working with Jen; she makes my job so easy. She cooks lunch for us every day, attends to every detail. This year, Tara Rinkle Homan was my costume designer. She set up her sewing machine and trunks of clothes to remake. The costumes were superb.
Another year for drama camp. I miss it already. I miss my girls as they flew back to Charleston on Saturday. The summer of the grandchildren is over.