MARIPOSA — Learning how to portray characters on stage is only one small part of theater's artistic process: extracting laughter, tears, empathy, stunned silence and a vast array of other responses from an audience.
"Theater arts is all-consuming. It encompasses stage construction, lighting, design, the make-up and costumes, vocal and body conditioning, as well as the acting techniques," Julie Ransom says.
Ransom has taught theater arts at Merced High School for six years. Before that she spent four years at Merced Christian School doing the same.
In addition to teaching, her roles have been played onstage, in the wings and behind the scenes.
As artistic and musical director, prop mistress, stage manager and much more, she's worked with several Central Valley colleges and theater companies.
She laughs. "It is all art, and, hopefully, very little drama."
Her connection with Mariposa Playhouse began last year when she landed the part of Abigail Adams in the production of "1776." Once again, her range of skills came in handy with the young theater group when assumed a leadership position on the steering committee.
Ransom is preparing to instruct the playhouse's Theatre Day Camp this summer.
Registration remains open for the two sessions. Each session lasts two weeks.
The courses are:
Performance skills, with a concentration on understanding and performing Shakespeare.
Because everyone can sing, featuring music from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.
Session one is scheduled for June 17-28; session two will be July 8-19. Each session will conclude with a performance and social on the last Friday evening.
Theatre Day Camp is open to children and youth ages 6 to 18 and will take place Monday through Friday of each week from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Mariposa County Park Amphitheater. The cost is $200 per session.
Discounts will be applied for children from the same family and attending both sessions. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Contact Ransom at (209) 374-3233 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I have no desire to be on the silver screen, but I hope to continue being involved in theater until I can no longer entertain those who watch," Ransom says.
"Community theater is far more important and influential than Hollywood ever could be," she said. "We don't discriminate when we cast, and we have the ability to bring entire families together for projects."
Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at email@example.com.