Dance often has precedence over Drama in stage usage in the camp Great House on the account of only one sound system. This doesn’t bother me because I like the unenclosed sky of the deck. And. Really. I’m a summer camp counselor behind all the “Mhmm yeeees, I am a resident playwright of children’s theatre.” What, am I going to demand a diamond-encrusted director’s chair and a tech booth? We’ve got, like, some light switches.
However, girls’ Drama starts just as boys’ breakfast ends, so during warm-ups and the beginnings of our rehearsals, an ant line of boys passes us. The campers are actually well-behaved, but seriously every other counselor, not realizing that every other counselor does it, kind of pops into the class—either mimicking what we’re doing or shouting little “To be or not to be!”s at us. Sometimes falling down and saying, “Well, that was dramatic.” A har har har. The girls obviously get a little flustered because warm-ups aren’t exactly confidence-boosters. We’re often making weird noises or stretching or something.
I am very interested in the fact that none of these counselors realize that A) it’s still not funny the fifth time in the week they interrupt and B) half their kind practices this behavior.
On picture night the girls in their navy skirts and white tees bunched in cabins to take charming little photos for their parents to stalk on the camp website. As I waited for my chicklets to be called I watched as every single male counselor left the dining hall, crept up behind the cabin currently posing, made a stupid face, was shooed by the photographer, and laughed themselves out of the shot.
I wasn’t able to see my boys’ improv class perform last week. They had their showcase during girls’ dinner. I asked them how it went. “Amazing,” they said. Amazing. One, particularly adorable and willing to learn, said, “Oh man, Alice! We played Emotional Rollercoaster and we were mad, and then we got ‘blissful’ and I just changed my voice, and everyone cracked up! Including us on stage! We couldn’t finish the scene! It was the funniest thing ever.” I nod. Mhmm.
When I start girl’s musical theatre class I ask, “Who has performed before,” and we hear about high school and jr. high productions of yore from each individual. One girl was the lead this year. “Oh yeah?” I ask, “How was that.” She says “I think it went well,” but she has the tiniest corner of her lip upturned so we know she thinks she was good. And we all hate her for it.