A summer camp immersed in performing arts


About the author: Julia Clark, a resident of Emerald Hills, will be a junior this fall at Carlmont High School, where she is a member of the Thespian Society and the CHS Dead Poets Society (a staged reading and poetry club).


By Julia Clark | Special to the Almanac

Last year I found TheatreWorks' Summer Studio while searching online for a summer theater camp. It stood out for several reasons.

I have seen, and been impressed with, many TheatreWorks productions. The camp would give me the opportunity to work with the staff there.

It also was a chance to practice all the performing arts and broaden my horizons. In school productions, you often work on just one thing, whether it be acting, directing, tech crew or something else. You rarely get the chance to work on script writing, choreography, and putting together musical numbers as a collaborative group.

Last summer, when we performed our final Summer Studio show, I was especially proud because I had helped create every part of it. From script writing to costume design to choreography, I had the chance to do it all.

I decided to return to Summer Studio this year, and have especially enjoyed acting, dance and music class. In just a few weeks, I've learned new ways to approach acting and the physicality of characters.

In dance, we focus mainly on hip-hop, which is a great style because anyone can do it and add her or his own flavor. We put together creative musical numbers that showcases everyone's talents.

The staff members at Summer Studio are excellent and are great at relating to teenagers. They know how to listen to our ideas and help us refine them to fit into the script elegantly.

Also, the script is about current events that are relevant in our lives.

The show that we are putting on this summer is called "The Feathers." It is inspired by a Greek play, "The Birds" by Aristophanes.

It takes place at The Nest, a Burning Man-type festival in the desert and the festival-goers, called "feathers," live in love and harmony. That is, until some corporate suits show up and disrupt the status quo.

I play Vonnegut, one of the feathers. She definitely has a big personality but has her insecurities like anyone else.

An area I have enjoyed working on and feel that I have made big contributions to is figuring out the musical numbers for the show. The feathers are such exuberant people that they deserve an equally outstanding soundtrack.

Summer Studio has helped prepare me for a potential career in theater by teaching me about the collaboration necessary to create a play. The writing, acting, music, costuming and directing all have to mesh to form a great finished product.

INFORMATION: Go to TheatreWorks website for more information about Summer Studio. Performances of "The Feathers" are open to the public and take place at 7 p.m. on two nights, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 10-11, at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. Admission is free.

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