One of the unexpected benefits of leading a Teen Performance Camp with 15 fantastic, talented, creative, individual teenagers, is that I sleep like a log, 8-9 hours a night. Camp is intensely creative and involving – we start our day with acting warm-ups – physical and vocal – go on to acting games to develop our skills (How old is this character? Where’s the weird hitchhiker going? What would this Langston Hughes poem look like if represented by a group body statue?), followed by designing sets, lights, costumes, make-up etc. for our play – then lunch and an exuberant visit to the outdoor playground (teens love the swing set, who knew?) and ending with 2-hours of afternoon rehearsals for our play.
This week the students learned how to do cold readings and character assessment for auditions. After two-days of auditioning, they were given their parts for the camp showcase performance of “Snow Angel,” a play about a group of teenagers who get a snow-day off from school and have close-encounters with (maybe?) a ghost. “Snow Angel,” written by David Lindsay-Abaire, is both poignantly moving & very funny (picture 13 teenagers standing toe-to-toe on a 4’ x 6’ platform and singing Emily Dickenson’s poem, “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me …” to the tune of “Yellow Rose of Texas.”)
This weekend I’m constructing set-pieces from our designs and on Monday and Tuesday the actors will learn how to paint a set – joined for their design efforts by HANNAH MCSHEA who won the “Alice” poster design contest and has volunteered to teach our campers how to lay out and paint a backdrop. Later in the week, our fabulous camp assistant, college theatre student Kayla Hudgins, will teach the campers how to apply basic stage make-up and (just for fun) make ourselves appear to have black-eyes and bleeding wounds. (We love Kayla!)
Everyone is warmly invited to join us at the end of camp for the (free & open to the public) showcase performances of “Snow Angel,” July 8th & 9th at 7:00 pm – 927 W. Trinity Avenue, Fellowship Hall of Trinity Presbyterian Church – corner of Trinity Ave. & Gregson Streets in the Brightleaf Square area of downtown Durham. Park in the Gregson Street lot and enter at the doors beside the playground. Seating is limited, so arrive early for a good seat.