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Creative juices flow at camp

Stars are being born at the Lincoln County Cultural Theater.
Drama camp students are learning the art of acting, improvisation and hitting someone in the face without hurting them.
“When they come in they’re pretty hesitant and shy, but at the end of even the first day they come out of their shell,” said Andrea Tripodi, the camp director.
Each day begins at 9 a.m. when students stretch their bodies and their voices.
After their warm-ups, students separate into groups to rehearse in plays written and directed by the older students.
The teenage directors not only have to have a creative vision for their work, its also their job to keep 10 younger students on their best behavior.
“They’re all really respectful, and we have a good time,” said Laura Estep, a 16-year-old student director.
Brian Howell, another student director, has been involved with the Lincoln Community Theater for years.
Working with younger students while directing his play has not been nearly as hard as he expected.
“You just make it as exciting as you can,” said Brian. “Maybe some of them will come out with a love of drama.”
Many of the younger campers already have that love and enjoy every minute in the spotlight.
“I’ve been in front of people my whole life, ever since I was four,” said Mary Elizabeth Walker, 7. “It makes me feel good, and I like when people clap for me.”
After students rehearse their plays, they divide up by age group and go into workshops.
Most teachers have been involved with the Lincoln Community Theater for years, and every instructor has volunteered their time to teach.
Students learn stage combat, stage direction and movement, mask making and improvisation. For every workshop, there’s a student who calls it their favorite.
Kara Hamm, 13, enjoys learning how to hit someone without really hitting them in her stage combat class.
“You’re like how can these actors do that?” said Kara. “I want to learn that.”
Other students prefer to put their creative energy into making theater masks.
“Sometimes you get messy, and I like to get messy with art,” said Mary Elizabeth.
Older students often cite improvisation as their favorite class. In that class, students are given ridiculous situations to act out.
Brian was instructed to be a guest at a party who is deathly terrified of arm pits.
“Oh God! Another one!” he screamed running around the rehearsal space.
Students in the workshop have learned that improvisation is not for the light of heart.
“Yeah, getting up there and running around in fear of something, it really tires you out,” said Kelly Abernathy, 17.
Their teacher, Bethany Falls, has also learned that keeping a group of campers who love drama under control is not the easiest task.
“I have a lot of little directors wanting to all take over,” Falls said.
When asked to perform in front of a group, some students tense up. Others enjoy every minute of it.
“Once you get up there, everything’s real easy, and it just comes naturally,” said Luke Mullinax, 15.
Most are just happy to get out of the house and do something they love.
“I enjoy acting,” said Laura. “It’s just fun to take on another personality, another character, to just be someone you’re not.”by Sarah Grano

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