By Josh Raymer
There is a certain joy that comes from wearing clown makeup at lunch.
Zach Hanvey, a resident of Paris, knows that feeling all too well. What he enjoyed most about taking Clowning at SCATS in 2014 was the interaction with his fellow campers during lunch, when he would sit down at the table wearing the clown makeup he designed and channel his inner Broadway the Clown (the alter ego of Zach’s instructor for Clowning, Nick Wilkins).
“My favorite part about this class last year was I got to give my balloon animals to kids at lunch,” Zach recalled. “It made them so happy because I had my clown face on and they thought I was a real clown.”
Zach loved Clowning so much he decided to take the class again this year, along with Acting, which he also took in 2014. Zach is one of several students who were so inspired by a class in 2014 they decided to retake it this summer. Evvie Cooley, a Louisville resident, joined Zach for another year of Clowning. How does Evvie plan to push herself in a class she’s already taken? “Get better!” she answered.
Mary Baker, a resident of Paducah, is enrolled in Acting and Musical Troupe this summer after taking both classes last year. She hopes to recapture the magic that made Acting so special: “Last year I learned so much about how to express yourself through acting,” she said. “I realized that everybody in that class was like me – crazy but having fun at the same time. I’m hoping this year will be even better.”
Jared Rodgers, a Verona resident, simply wanted to give acting a try last year at SCATS. Now that he’s back for a second go-round, Jared wants to continue maturing as an actor and approach his roles in a different way.
“Last year, being a first year, it was like I could say these lines however I wanted,” he said. “This year I have to find the right way to interpret a character and dialogue.”
Ian Bowling, a resident of Lexington, SC, remembers creating coy fish, printmaking, and crafting candy circles in Mixed Media Multicultural Art Experience last year. This summer he’s hoping to be more efficient as an artist: “I didn’t get as many projects done as I wanted in Mixed Media last year,” Ian admitted. “I hope to do some of that stuff again this year – along with new stuff like stained glass windows – and finish it.”
As Mary proved this year by retaking Musical Troupe, coming back to a class could mean being part of something you influenced. In her case, she pointed instructor Jim Fulkerson toward a Disney theme at the end of last year’s camp and asked him to consider it for 2015. Much to Mary’s delight, Jim chose to do Disney songs this year.
“I’m really looking forward to the music we’re singing because I’m a big Disney fan,” Mary exclaimed. “Some of the music is so funny; some is inspirational, and some of it is sad. I was hoping we could sing it because I’m the one who told him we should do Disney this year, so I’m excited we’re actually doing it!”
Zach might not become a professional actor when he grows up, but the onstage confidence he gained last year inspired him to be part of his school’s production of “The Phantom Tollbooth” this past year. He played Tock the dog.
Both he and Evvie are benefiting from the differentiated instruction Nick is providing in Clowning. By learning advanced methods of balloon animal making or trying out contortion (which Evvie hopes to do), both students are ensuring personal growth for themselves in a class where they’ve been exposed to the basics. But there are important lessons for Zach and Evvie to learn that go beyond juggling and balloon animals — lessons that will stick with them after SCATS ends.
“I want to learn how to be like Mr. Nick,” Zach admitted. “He’s the best teacher ever. He’s fun, laid back, and never gets too mad about anything.”
“He only gets mad if you say ‘can’t,’” Evvie interjected.
“Yeah, don’t say ‘can’t!’” Zach finished.