By, Stella Raffle-Wax, Drama Specialist
Hey! It’s your 2016 Drama Specialist, Stella! I’m so excited to tell you all about our second session play. I’ve been coming to Crane Lake for 10 years and I’ve seen a whole lot of camp plays, but I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a camp play quite as interesting as this one.
When anyone thinks of a classic rehearsal process, key elements always come to mind: block scenes, memorize lines, learn choreography, build a believable character, and organize any technical aspects. These processes usually last for at least a few months out in the real world, but here in the Crane Lake bubble, we have one week. The campers and staff involved give up virtually any free time they might have in order to expedite the process and ensure a successful show. Our minimalist sets are painted in just a few days, lines are learned before you can blink, and the outline of our blocking is done in a couple hours. This session the Crane Lake Players put on a production of High School Musi-pocalypse, a parody of the classic Disney Channel trilogy, High School Musical.
Our show opens with a very, VERY truncated summary of the original HSM story, but gets unfortunately interrupted by a Walt Disney Lawyer, who is offended at the thought of their precious money-maker getting made fun of. From there, the play continues into rehearsals for Northeast High’s next musicalé: an apocalyptic tale of love and loss, complete with volcanoes, falling rock slides, and an ancient Mayan prophecy that (of course) predicts the end of the world when their calendar ends. The characters are drama club archetypes: a teacher whose moment in the spotlight is long passed, a moody playwright who’s shut down every time she opens her mouth, overprotective high school cliques, and a chorus filled with dreamers, longing for their time to shine.
In addition to normal rehearsals filled with blocking scenes and running lines, I also ran a three day mask workshop during Chugensive as part of my Cornerstone Fellowship, a program for third year counselors which works to promote Jewish culture at camp through creative programming and leadership training. During the last activity period of the day for three days, eight upper camp cast members (Alice T., Leo K., Arielle M., Lindsey B., Michelle S., Abby D., Sima S., and Jackie A.) alongside myself participated in a series of introspective activities so as to build depth within their characters and within themselves. In these activities, our ensemble gained a new perspective of camp by exploring the Rec Hall and the path leading up to it from the perspective of a brand new person who had yet to explore anything.
The play is one of the most unique and special experiences a camper could have here in the bubble. To spend your days in the oldest building on camp, surrounded by the names of those who have come before them, and coming together to create something fun to be shown to their fellow campers and counselors is one that is treasured. Our time in rehearsals creates a space where unexpected bonds are made within the cast and crew, and friendships strengthen. For one week, we work hard and we work fast. Our show is an opportunity once a session for the theatrically-minded campers to show off their skills in front of the entire camp, while letting loose and being as silly as possible. Last night, those campers put on an amazing show, one which won’t soon be forgotten!
Stella Raffle-Wax is a third year staff member as the Drama Specialist and a Cornerstone Fellow. She is from Brooklyn, New York and is currently a student at Marymount Manhattan College as a Politics & Human Rights major, with a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies. She started spending summers at Crane Lake as a Nitzanim camper in 2006.