Imagine having never stepped on a stage before. Now imagine putting on a performance after just one week of rehearsals. Sounds scary, right?
For 20 Marco Island YMCA theater campers, ages 7 to 17, this was their ultimate challenge. After less than a week of learning the ins and outs of theater, the campers were able to put on a full-length production of “Haphazardly Ever After,” by Jeff Fluharty for their friends and families.
Gina Sisbarro, longtime Marco Island theater veteran, directed the YMCA theater camp. Sisbarro is perhaps best known to locals for her productions of “Battlefield of Brotherhood” and “The Men of Rushmore and Their Wives,” both of which she wrote and directed. She also operates a ghost tour service, the Marco Murder and Mayhem tour.
“What we decided to do was give those children campers the options to come into the theater versus taking the regular camp,” Sisbarro said.
Throughout the weeklong camp Sisbarro coached the kids through fun theater games, allowingthem to slowly become more comfortable with the stage.
“Everyday they got stronger and more comfortable because you’re made to do things you wouldn’t normally do,” Sisbarro said. “That helped them get comfortable in their skin.”
Sisbarro explained that she strategically chose “Haphazardly Ever After” due to its abundance of roles and age-appropriate humor. Instead of a traditional audition, she assigned parts based on the camper’s specific abilities, talents, and willingness to perform.
At the end of the week the campers were able to perform, without the aid of a script, to a full audience. According to Sisbarro, one extremely shy camper surprised everyone, including herself with her performance.
Of the camp YMCA Youth Development Manager Stephanie Pepper said, “Theater was a great success, the children thoroughly enjoyed it and the play was hysterical. It is unbelievable what can be done in one week. We are looking forward to working with Gina in the future and are happy to have brought theater back to the YMCA.”