Someone Googled “childhood enmeshment” and it brought them to this post? Okay.
Well, let’s re-post it. Why not? All other drama camp posts here.
Originally posted July 2005.
“If You Can’t Act, Behave!”
Can I say this? I rather dread the first day of drama camp.
And today was the first day of drama camp.
There’s always far too much drahhma.
There’s always The Poor, Fretful Chile who didn’t choose camp; it was chosen for her. Not sure which one she is? Oh, well, she’s the one coming unglued over in the corner. And is that her mother with her, consoling her? Nope, that’s me, trying to brainwash this child into believing that “drama camp will be fun, fun, fun and it’s just the ticket for a jittery kid like you!!”
Then there’s always The Bratty Boy; the boy that says, “Ewww. There aren’t any boys at this camp, only girls. Ewwww. I don’t wanna do this. Ewwww. This SUCKS.” So where is Bratty Boy now? Oh, he’s lying down over there in another corner. Guess he’s just plumb tuckered out from all that participatin’ he’s doin’. Or he’s drunk. Frankly, I’d rather he lie there with the DTs than bother the rest of camp.
Then there’s always The Little Girl in Floozy Makeup, the one whose naturally beautiful, shining face has been frosted and glossed and rouged past innocence into a macabre Pretty Baby rainbow. So where is our little rainbow now? Well, I wish I could say she was in the bathroom with a washcloth, making the world right again, but, alas, she’s loudly centerstage, frosty and glossy and rougey.
Of course, there’s always The Parent Who Never Leaves, the one who can’t separate or won’t separate or won’t let the child separate or some other combination of raging parent/child emeshment. Interesting. It’s usually the little rainbow’s mom.
Then there’s always The Parent Who Treats You Like A Babysitter: “See this stuff here? Well, that’s Baby’s overnight bag. She’s spending the night with Lulu, so can you see that Lulu’s mom gets this stuff, hmmm? And (eyeing our Goldfish and pretzels suspiciously) these are Baby’s special snack-ums. I want her to have some healthy snacks, so can you please give her these Salmon-Crusted Wheat Germy Soy Sticks, hmmm?” Interesting. It’s usually the mom of the sickliest looking kid at camp.
Then there’s always, always The Parent Who Cross-Examines You About Why Little Blandranelle Didn’t Get The Part She Desperately Wanted — And Do You Know She Cried All Day and All Night, Too?!
But then, ah, then, there’s always The Boy Who’s My Hero, the one who is sure enough about his emerging masculinity that he can go to football camp or baseball camp or basketball camp and STILL come to drama camp. And where is this boy, you ask? Well, he’s the one onstage right now, fearlessly leading the charge before all the other boys and getting up to audition, opinions be damned.
Finally, perhaps best of all, there’s always The Kid With Grace, the truly talented one who didn’t get the part she’d hoped for, because, much as you’d like, you can’t give every kid the lead, can’t make every theatre dream come true. So where can one find this Kid With Grace? Well, she’s the one on the phone with me now, listening as I offer her the choice of two other parts, neither the part, but still oh-so-important. And she’s the one hiding her disappointment with a poise belying her tender years. And she’s the one who breaks your heart when, again, you ask which part she prefers and she says, “Well, which choice would make it easier for YOU to do the best possible show? That’s the part I want.”
Come to think of it, dread is not the right word. Not the right word at all.