Campfire Stories - Theatre Review

A review by Rachel Flanagan.

It is the last night of summer camp and four preteen girls sit around the fire recalling the time that they had that summer.  All four girls vow to stay friends forever and never miss a single important part of each other's lives. They take this vow as the S'mores, swearing on their toasted marshmallows that their friendships will stay strong as they grow up, meet boys, go to college and live their lives.  Only, as each girl experiences that defining moment in life that will shape them and make them the woman that they will become, their friendships are each put to the test.

Campfire Stories follows  these four girls as they become four women with each defining moment told as a "campfire story" revealing the secrets that they kept from one another creating both the ties that bind them and the strings that are tearing them apart.  The audience will meet Amber is a gorgeous twelve year old who, after the girls part ways as the S'mores on the last night of summer camp, makes a decision to go visit the tent of a much older camp counselor.  That night shapes the girl that Amber will become but she does not share her experience with the girls she had just vowed to stay connected with for the rest of her life.  Amber does not end up in college but does end up happily married with twin boys.  While each of the girls try to stick together, Amber and Shania seem to keep a strong bond together as Amber shares her last night at camp with Shania, but not the other girls.  Shania is the matriarch of the group but the one who keeps herself physically the farthest away from the other girls. Shania, or Shay as her friends call her, is a loving wile child who does not leave the people she loves, regardless of what they may do to her.  As she grows up, she finds herself in one abusive relationship after another until one lover takes it too far.

Trudy and Tess fulfilled their college dreams where they not only went to the same college but also stayed in the same room, only this was not the only thing that they shared.  Tess was smart but other than her campfire friends, was always kind of a loner so when that one guy in college finally asked her out, she thought she had finally met the man of her dreams that she would marry and have babies together.  Only Trudy, the beautiful and experienced girl who gets what she wants also has eyes for the same college boyfriend.  Instead of facing the obvious between the two friends, they choose to pretend as if it is not there and to hide their true feelings from one another, in order to protect and maintain their friendship.  Tess ends up falling in love with someone else and getting the marriage she expected and Trudy, she kept the college boyfriend because he was not just another guy but he was her soulmate, it was just unfortunate that Trudy had not found him first.

When tragedy strikes and the S'mores girls finally have to face each other in person, all their secrets, fears, and regrets come out in a tearful and heartbreaking reunion. It seems as if the melted marshmallows that keep campfire S'mores together was not strong enough to hold their secrets together. Honesty and communication would have been a stronger glue than the secrets they failed to keep sharing as they did the night that they first met as young, innocent preteen girls with the whole wide world and unknown future ahead of them.  

Campfire Stories is Written by Rachel Burcham and directed by J. Bailey Burcham, While a few of the character stories, particularly Shania's descriptive, yet slightly confusing campfire story , could have used a little more depth and characters like Trudy could have benefited from a little more realization, this is a story that will resonate with anyone with lifelong friendships.   Each actress embodies their characters completely and establishes each new place in time as their characters grow and change at each defining moment in their life.   A meaningful tale of growing and friendship, Campfire Stories is shore to delight the dreamy young preteen in us all as we recall the defining moments that made each of us who came to be the friends that helped us through it all.

Campfire Stories
Friday and Saturday at 8pm March 25 - April 16, 2016
Studio C Artists
6448 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Posted By Rachel Flanagan on March 30, 2016 04:33 pm | Permalink