To conclude a quiet but full summer, those on campus enjoyed some classic “campfire stories” (minus the crackling of a real fire). In a new opportunity offered this summer, many summer work students participated in Summer Theatre: Tell Me a Campfire Story, a collection of performances that included Ninety-Nine, Old Christmas Morning, The Monkey’s Paw, The Whole Town Sleeping, and The Ransom of Red Chief.
Because Tanley Sorensen (Jr., SC) has enjoyed participating in theater, she knew she wanted to try out for the Summer Theatre and readily auditioned after realizing her work schedule had plenty of room for it. “We have as much fun offstage as we do onstage. I get along extremely well with my directors as well as my fellow cast members,” she said. “Theatre is a great way to learn how to work as a team. Being in a cast and working toward a common goal has helped me to learn how to collaborate with different personalities and viewpoints.”
Summer Theatre is identical to the Dramatic Productions performed during the year in every way except one—it did not involve a class or a grade. “It’s been fantastic to get the opportunity to direct Summer Theatre,” said Shelby Chappell (Sr., FL), who directed Ninety-Nine. “Being able to direct during the summer is a great way to keep your skills sharp and to get a chance to work with people who usually can’t try out during the semester. It’s nice to be able to focus on enjoying the rehearsal process and performances without having to worry about grades or other classes.”
Juliana Abbett (So., France) is one of many students who is usually too busy to try out for a Dramatic Production during the semester. She earned a part in The Ransom of Red Chief. “I play a young lady named Agatha,” she said. “My character is very proper and well-behaved. She is sophisticated and obedient to her mother. She is also very compassionate, especially toward her younger sister.”
Since becoming familiar with the cast, Caden Sorensen (So., SC) appreciated how they have shown a strong commitment to a common goal—putting on successful performances. “We usually start with sharing time and prayer. After that we work a scene and find problem spots,” he said. “We run the play as many times as necessary to feel comfortable and prepared on stage, all the while still having fun.”
When full performances are only a few weeks away, the cast starts to run through everything as though it were performance night; soon after that, full dress rehearsals with costumes, hair, and makeup! “That is my favorite part; at that point, the production starts to take shape, and everyone starts to get really excited,” said Anna Boling (So., NE), who played characters in The Monkey’s Paw and Old Christmas Morning. “I definitely hope Summer Theatre is able to continue in the future. It’s an amazing opportunity for people to get involved who might not be able to during the semester.”
“I think summer is the perfect opportunity for doing a play since there are no classes and nothing to study for, so I can concentrate more on my character,” said Ari Estrada (Jr., Ecuador), who played Red Chief in The Ransom of Red Chief. “It’s a really good opportunity to try something new. You meet awesome people, and you have so much fun. You put so much love into that stage, and you really become attached to the people and your character.”
The addition of being part of a summer production has only added to the variety of activities offered to summer workers, allowing them to make new friends and create new memories. “I have been in various theater productions, even as a kid. Theater was always a great way to meet new people, learn life skills, and be proud of something you accomplished,” said Caden. “Summer Theatre was an opportunity to put on a show in a God-honoring environment.”