Show day is unique; there is a lot of energy. I am excited for the kids, the kids are excited for themselves, and the family and friends are excited for everything. Friday is spent coiling the energy, making sure the kids have a focus and appreciation for what they are about to do. Friday’s are spent reflecting on the week, the process, finessing a few details, and then ShowTime. 5 days of hard work is showcased in a 30 minute never before seen, never to be seen again production.
I can never find the right words to articulate what happens in a week. This week 10 strangers came together ranging in ages from 6-13 and created 10 scenes and 1 musical number. They worked collaboratively across the ages, sang, danced, acted, improvised, choreographed stage combat…it all somehow comes together. Music is found to match each scene, each moment, from thunderstorms to the sound of a door locking, all of the details contribute to the art. The lights are programmed to show the emotion of a character, the change in dynamic, the entrances and exits…all for this one show.
The overall point is that the show is not the most important part of the week. It is the cherry on top. The process is where the magic happens. Family and friends never truly get to see those moments when their child is problem solving, analyzing, or questioning the world they are creating and the character they are becoming. The arts have such a transformative power, and I have the privilege of facilitating and observing this transformation within a week.
I will share one example from this week that is a stand out. One of the campers (under 8) had her first time in theatre camp. On the first day she cried and was missing home, a common occurrence for some. Usually it means making a quick phone call home to be reassured everything will be okay; however this person wanted to push on and just needed a moment. Today her mother told me that on Thursday evening her child broke down crying. I was worried; she seemed to be having a good time. The mother explained that she was upset that camp was ending. As a way to help with this transition, the mother told her that it will be okay and that their trip to Florida was coming up this weekend. The child then replied that she would rather skip Florida and come back to camp. I may request that we move the camp next week on location to Florida, but I doubt that will be approved.
Waking up at 5:00 a.m. was difficult at the beginning of the week. A lot of my colleagues (including my wife) have started vacation. I am always a little resentful the first day or two, but driving home tonight I had that spark, that energy that keeps me going. Theatre is my passion, and having the opportunity to facilitate this experience for kids (some for the very first time) is awesome. It’s similar to those people who work out and get that after work out high…I couldn’t relate to that specifically because, well, that community hasn’t acknowledged Netflix binge watching as an athletic endeavour (yet, growth mindset).
1 week down, 5 more to go. Next week we start over again with the same question:
What do you want to make a play about?