It seems appropriate that my last post — forever and a day ago — would have been about the start of my camp. It’s only now that it’s over, and I feel my life returning to normal, that I have the time to even think about writing.
As I may have made clear in my previous post, I was horribly worried about the success of the camp and its production of ‘Zombie Prom’. But, as is so often the case, such worries were unfounded.
That’s not to say it was a cakewalk. With thirty-four children (28 of them girls!), I spent far more time than the previous summers simply getting the cast to shut the hell up.
This year was also something of an epiphany regarding how adolescent boys behave. This will probably come as no surprise, but I was not your typical adolescent boy. The older guys in my Boy Scout troop (yes, I was a Boy Scout…) used to joke that they had to hit me just to make me say something. Acting out or causing a raucous was never a problem I had. And, at the same time, I could never figure out why it was such a problem for the boys around me.
At any rate, my lead actor in ‘Zombie Prom’ was about as typical an adolescent as you could ask for (although, why you would ever ask for one is beyond me), and he quickly became the de facto leader of the small band of boys at camp. It reminded me a lot of Howard, who was in church children’s choir with me way back in the day. He was cute, charming, quick with a joke, and obnoxious in the way that only he could get away with. Naturally, I both hated and envied him and boys like him, but that’s another story.
What I’m getting at is that, now comfortably separated from that part of my life, and capable of looking objectively at this “typical” adolescent behavior, I could see it for the generally harmless nonsense it is, and realized that, rather than expend precious energy trying to rein it in, the best I can do is make sure they hit their lines and their entrances (a hard enough battle) and just let them be boys the rest of the time. Probably not a great revelation to anyone who was already spent a great deal of time working with teenagers, but it was an important lesson for me.
The other great lesson for me from this summer is that, I think, I’m actually effective as a theatre educator. It’s nudged me towards thinking about pursuing it more seriously as a field. I’ve been so discouraged lately as a performer, to the point of considering getting out of music altogether (more on that later), but the notion of devoting myself to educating new generations of music and theatre lovers (something I hadn’t given serious thought to ever since I decided I wouldn’t be moving home to replace my high school chorus teacher after all) is increasingly appealing.
It needs more thought and research before any official decision is made, but it’s on the table. We’ll see where it goes from there.