July 22, 2011

(Eva & Doofus, from the Teen Performance Camp, “Snow Angel”)

Whew! It’s Friday evening and nearly two weeks since I last posted … while I would apologize for the long silence, the reason for it is positive. This week we held our first summer performance camp for students aged 6 – 11 – Twenty-one young actors together with four, amazing teen interns gathered for six hours each day in the fellowship hall of Trinity Ave. Presbyterian Church. We played hot potato while focusing on throwing energy through our arms, voices and eye contact. We played Emotional Statues Wax Museum tag. We chose three of the four short plays that we had read aloud for performance in our end of camp showcase. We learned how to audition for a part – and how to determine which parts we might be best suited to perform. We studied lines for the parts we won. We demonstrated hip-hop moves for our Hip Hop Bops chorus & came up with a floor-stomping rhythm. We drew the areas of a stage with chalk in the church parking lot (before the heat climbed to 100 toward Friday.) We imagined sets and set pieces and transferred our visions to a large mural drawn & colored by the entire class – set designs for our three shows; this weekend I’ll have the fun of turning the designs into final floor plans so we can block movement for our plays on Monday. Oh, campers have donated 3 bags of costumes to the DFT costume stock – “Wait,” Reagan cried, “that was my favorite shirt!”

Yet with all this fun – new friendships, successfully negotiated conflicts and innumerable games of twister & mancala – even with the watermelon we had at snack time today – our time was made even richer by volunteers who came to lend a hand. Viola Bestmann lead us in yoga exercises that were both fun & relaxing – the next day Ms. Viola watched over two campers who had a touch of stomach flu – Next week she’ll join us for yoga again.

Malcolm Goff & Joy Herrell have been with us all week – as have their 3 young actors – Malcolm & Joy are taping many of our activities and will use the video to create a 5-minute promo/grant application DVD for DFT as well as a completed DVD of the final performance. Plus, Malcolm & Joy teach at elementary schools during the regular school season – today Joy (who, besides being a transplanted NYC actress & singer, teaches music) helped us create our Hip Hop Bops dance & lead the children in a relaxing,  sitting-down-in-a- circle game when we were all tired and excited at the end of the day.

It’s been an exciting first week of camp. Now I’m going to put my feet up and enjoy reflecting on the experience.

Wishing you a good weekend (feet up or down)


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