Playing Politics – a Showcase of Power & Payback

Putting up three plays in three weeks is no easy feat, so adding a fourth production (featuring all 37 campers in the cast) is the sort of extra challenge we love to set before the brilliant, eager minds of the ASC Theatre Camp. 

We’re not as crazy as we sound; we cut each of the three final scripts down to a run time of 60 minutes. As might be expected, cutting a play to one hour often results in a variety of acting tracks, some that give students less time onstage or working one-on-one with their director. The fourth production is our creative remedy – we ask the campers about their Shakespearean dream roles and build the script based on their answers. The result is a showcase of scenes and soliloquies from throughout the canon, woven together with a theme: this session, we’re prying into puzzles of power, pride, prestige, purpose, and payback. In short, we’re Playing Politics.

The Showcase will be this Saturday, July 29 at 7:30 at Stuart Hall’s King Theatre. Admission is free and open to the public. Join us to see these young actors shine shine–and stay for an ice cream social after the ~hour long performance ends. Hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it, never fear! We will be livestreaming the performance on the ASCTC Facebook page — if you can’t be there personally, you can still be there electronically.

Making musical memories.

Today was all about the music — and let me just say right now that we have an amazingly varied and stunningly talented crop of campers this session. I mean, we always have a lot of talent in the room, but in my short tenure as Camp Director I have never seen so many instruments in the PEG dorm! These kids play everything – aside from the ubiquitous acoustic guitars (what’s summer camp without an acoustic guitar or seven?) and the usual handful of ukeleles, this session we also have five (yes, FIVE) violins, a saxophone, a trombone, a clarinet, a flute, several pianists (though none of them are in possession of the majestic kitty keyboard Elias Cross brought with him last session — each key “meows” its note when played), some maracas, I think I saw a tambourine at some point, panpipes and several different recorders. Oh, and CAROLINE RAYMOND with her upright bass:

You can bet your bottom buck that we’ll be making use of all of these musical talents in each of the shows as well as in our mid-session Showcase (which is on Saturday, July 30). Today we started working on an all-camp song, which will close the Showcase performance and make a reappearance to open the Final Performance Festival on Sunday, August 6. We’ve got a whole strings section, not to mention a clarinet-flute-saxophone-trombone quartet. It’s gonna be magic!

In addition to rehearsing music for the Showcase, campers had a lot of one-on-one time with their heroes today: they split into casts for Voice class with Alli Glenzer, which meant each camper was able to get more individual attention in their vocal work, and then we all joined back together for a music workshop with another ASC veteran actor (and extraordinary musician) Chris Johnston.


Rehearse your parts!

Pestle rehearsal shenanigans

King Lear exploring the Blackfriars Playhouse


Getting started on Showcase!

This session, the story is called “Playing Politics” — campers got their scripts and their casting a few days earlier than their Session 1 counterparts (because we read the camper surveys and fix what we’re able to fix whenever we can!). I’m super excited to dive into this story with this group of nutter butters. We’re gonna have so much fun!

“Walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.” Our first day off!

The first few days of camp are quite the whirlwind. You’re in a new place, surrounded by new people, and oh how about you do an audition and a 3-hour voice class and read throughs and first rehearsals and text prep and showcase casting and, well, general sensory overload. Wednesday gave us all a chance to relax, reset, and take stock of all that’s happened thus far — and get ready to dive headlong into the experience of camp.

The staff was likewise glad to have a chance to catch our collective breaths…

Bonus video of one our super crazy talented campers noodling around on the Split Banana Piano:

“You met with things dying, I with things new born.”

Auditions, casting, and read-throughs… oh my! The start of the session sure is busy busy busy. Peek behind the scenes of a day at camp with these pictures (and a video montage!) from auditions, the final show cast lists, and photos from tonight’s read-thrus.

While I still mourn the end of Session 1, the Session 2 campers capital-B BROUGHT IT during auditions this morning. I keep forgetting talent is not a finite quality — just because the Session 1 campers had it in spades doesn’t mean anybody in Session 2 got the short end of the talent stick. I mean… take a look:


After auditions it’s the lunchtime party, and after the party is the PEG dorm lobby, and round about 5 we gotta leave the lobby and take ourselves to Hunt to post some cast lists.

After posting those cast lists, Vicky and I stayed hard at work creating the Showcase script and getting it cast. Several campers from Session 1 said they wished they’d gotten their Showcase scripts earlier (instead of on our first official rehearsal, which is this Thursday) and unlike some of their other complaints, that’s one I can actually do something about. Hopefully, we’ll be handing out roles by dinnertime tomorrow, and then we’ll be off to the races!

While we were doing that, the campers had their first meeting with their cast, Director, RDA, and Production Intern in order to read through the plays they’ll spend the next three weeks inhabiting. Check it out:

I’m sure the Pestle group was having too much fun to send me any pictures. Well – that’s all for now! See you tomorrow!