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Simply Maya

Summer's Over!

Maya Hand

(Sept, 2010) As the school year is about to start, I always think back on my summer… what I did, how much fun I had, what I learned and experienced. One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about this year is my favorite camp. Every summer I go to Way off Broadway in Frederick for theater camp. It is always so much fun and really exciting. I make new friends, play games, and get better at acting and memorizing lines. We perform a different play every year and move up to higher classes as we get older. If you take acting classes for at least three years and have worked to develop skills, you can be an actor in the invited only class. This was my fifth summer at Way Off Broadway and my second opportunity to be on stage in an invited summer class. I learn so much there, not only about acting but about so much more.

The first day of any camp is always exciting. The first day of acting camp I always wonder: Who will I already know? Who will be new to me? What play will we perform? What will the costumes and props look like? What games will we play?

This summer we put on a play called All in one Basket. The summer performance was five stories rolled into one play. My favorite story was Gerta and the Donkey. The story is about a girl named Gerta who lives with her sister, Rachel. Rachel thinks Gerta has no sense. One day, when Gerta goes to the market to sell her donkey for twenty gold coins, three thieves trick her into thinking that it's a goat. They trick her into letting them buy the ‘’goat’’ for five gold coins. Rachel is very disappointed when Gerta comes home with only five gold coins. Gerta then tricks the thieves into giving her one hundred gold coins. After that Rachel never thinks Gerta doesn’t have sense again. I really liked that story in the play because it was funny and enjoyable to watch. For one of my characters I was one of the three thieves.

In camp we learn to improvise, to express ourselves, to take on a character and we learn poise and confidence on stage. Even the games we play are fun and challenging. One of my favorites is called elevator. This elevator is magical. It can go anywhere in the world. The game starts off with one person in the ‘’elevator,’’ a bench to the left and stairs to the right. The person that is in the elevator can pretend to be any character she/he wants. Then, someone else comes into the elevator and pretends to be a character, and so on. All the people in the elevator talk to each other while staying in character. For example, let’s say one of the characters in the elevator is pretending to be a little kid that is lost. The person entering could say something like, ‘’Where have you been?’’ or ‘’I have been looking all over for you.’’ Miss Susan is our teacher, and she is great at helping us with the games. One of the reasons why I love acting camp so much is because she is one of the nicest, sweetest teachers in the world.

Acting camp has done a magnificent thing for me. I have learned that sometimes you have to challenge yourself to do new things in order to earn amazing opportunities. I have discovered that this is true not only with acting camp, but with other situations as well. Acting is not just about saying lines and walking around with props and costumes, you need to actually be the character. Use emotions and facial expressions. Act like everything is actually happening and real, and always have fun with it too!

Acting also helps me to understand what other people might be feeling because when I act it out, I sort of feel that way. In acting you practice being in other people’s shoes, so in life it becomes easier to understand how other people might be feeling. Sometimes we don’t really think really hard about what other people are feeling because we’re so busy with our own feelings. But this is something we should think more about – about being in their shoes. And if they are feeling sad or depressed, for example, then try the best you can to comfort them.

I love my time in camp. I'm always nervous before I go up on stage, but after I start acting on stage, it's really fun. For me, acting camp is something I love to do, but it’s also more than that. It’s something that challenges me year after year and helps me grow in other ways too. I think it’s always wonderful to have something that you love. And when I think about summertime, I think of opportunities to take the time to do things you love, especially when the something you love challenges you, helps you improve that thing you love doing, and may even help you to look at things in a new and interesting way. That’s what summertime is about, right? About taking a little break from the school routine and taking some time to grow in other ways. And now, after my summertime opportunity, I’m ready to head back to school, and I’m really excited!

Read other articles by Maya Hand