Saturday, September 24, 2011

Camp G & G 2011 Drama Camp

The grandkids are growing up.  All except Abby are preteens or teens. She is eight, but manages to keep pace with her cousins.  Perhaps, I thought, it's time to quit having Camp G & G.  I couldn't think of anything that might interest them, but when I hinted at shelving the Camp, I was meant with several loud NOs!  They promised to help grandma think of something and began to brainstorm. 

I was brainstorming, too.  I had been noticing them at the dining table and also while playing boardgames.  There was one thing they all enjoyed doing, that was trying on accents--English, Southern, whatever came to mind--as they bantered back and forth.  I also knew they loved acting.  That was it!  When I suggested having a drama camp, they were thrilled!  Thus, that's how the drama camp came to be. 

I originally thought we could write a play together, or perhaps I could buy one online.  "Yikes!" was all I could say when I priced online plays.  Oops, there wasn't time to write one together, they were coming in a two-and-a-half weeks.  There was nothing else to do except for Grandma to write one. I decided it must be a mystery.  While the plot was old and has been done many times in books and movies, this play was written to fit my cast and was a "Grandma Origional," entitled The Mysterious Sounds at HighTop Hideaway.  The list of characters and a brief synopsis are below:

SETTING: Hightop Hideaway is a luxurious resort set in the Smokey Mountains (East Tennessee/N.Carolina) where the rich and famous come to get away from the paparazzi, fans, and the demands of life.
Higgins, the Butler—James
Hilda, the Maid—Lainie
Bailey Balinee—A former Miss Tennessee who can’t get past it—Sarah
Henry Wright—A famous British Novelist who now lives in the USA—James
Della Davis—A famous fashion designer—Hannah
Pippin—A rising young starlet—Abby
Mrs. Vanderbilt—the owner—Lainie
Narrator: Thomas

(As you can see, some of the kids did two roles, but it worked.  I managed to write it so both of their characters weren't on stage at the same time.  I must admit, we did have some quick changes)

NARRATOR: It is the Springtime of 2011, on a Sunday morning, and the guests are enjoying their breakfast at the Hightop HideAway in the luxurious resort located in the Smokey Mountains, Tennessee. Mrs. Vanderbilt has just left to run some errands in a nearby village. The guests have arrived the night before. They are being served by Hilda and Higgins, who have been with Mrs. Vanderbilt, the owner since she opened the resort twenty years ago. If they look a bit tired, they are. The place is huge, three stories and an attic, plus a basement.

I might add a bit of history here. Mrs. Vanderbilt is a cousin to the New York Vanderbilts and descendent of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the patriarch who built America’s railroads. One of their summer cottages was the Biltmore Estates. Perhaps you have visited there while in Tennessee, it’s just over the mountain in North Carolina. Now, let’s looking in on the guests.

There, you get the general picture.  The kids were really "into it."  Our stage was G & G's dining room.  I even worked an opportunity for them to performance since they are all musical and the talent is abundant.  Of course they wanted to be assured they would have an audience, so we decided to host a premiere night, red carpet and all.  We invited moms & dads, cousins, and all grandparents.  I had to cut the guest list off there for our seating capacity was very limited (kitchen).  If you decide to do a drama camp, then you might stage yours anywhere that lends itself to staging and seating.  Make it fit your house.

Our camp was only to be four days long (it was hard to work out a time when all the grandkids could be together for we had to work around family vacations, but we figured it out).  I mailed their scripts to them, along with their personal invitation,  about a week before so they could begin to learn their parts.  It wasn't crucial that they have them memorized, but they wanted to.  They did work on them, working out their costuming by themselves and had them in tow when they arrived. They also decided on what performance they would give and practiced that too.

Most of the play had the characters seated at the dining room table, so staging was easy.  We hung a couple of curtains in the hallway and doorway, and we were in business.  My high school grandson, Tommy and his girlfriend, Ann, were my staff.  They helped direct activities and the play.  They were truly a blessing!

During the mornings, we would run through the play, then the afternoons were spent doing other activities.  One afternoon we went to the County Fair and another was spent at the swimming pool.  Then, there was the afternoon we tie-dyed shirts and had a water balloon fight.  Finally, we painted face masks.  We even worked in a picture taking session.

The night of the premiere arrived.  We had programs for our guests and all kinds of hor dourves.  The kids had their stars placed on the red carpet and even received an Oscar for their performances.  I'm thinking, it was the best camp ever! They're clamoring to do something similar next year.  I've got an idea. . . I'd better get to work on it.  Summer theater is fun, fun,fun!!!