WOODBURY - While other children her age probably were splashing in a pool or riding their bikes, 11-year-old Norah Badroos stood in a rehearsal studio at Merrill Community Arts Center, with one eye on her script and the other on her fellow actors.
"We're learning to use our emotions when we act, to have fun doing our performance," she said.
Norah and her young castmates had signed up for The Play's the Thing, one of several summer day camps at the center. They spent the week rehearsing "Just Like Us," a play by Craig Sodaro.
"We teach them acting, teach them acting technique, when it's about creating a character, being in a space, what it's going to look like," resident teaching artist Hannah Halvorson said.
The cast of sixth and seventh-graders learned about teamwork, memorization, stage direction and acting in front of an audience. The camp culminated in a Friday afternoon performance for friends, family and parents.
"Boys and girls, I want you to go over your lines tonight," Halvorson said before the group broke for the day. "Look at your cues."
"What's a cue?" someone pipes up.
"A cue is the line before yours. It tells you when it's your turn to speak."
The play "Just Like Us" centers on the animosity between two groups, the Greens and the Blues. They live on either side of an old tree in the park. The tree serves as the narrator.
The Greens and Blues must re-evaluate their mutual mistrust when a storm blows in two other groups who are blends of different colors: the Aquas and Purples.
"It's a play about loving people in spite of their differences," Halvorson said.
More sessions are scheduled for this month, including Music Theater Camp July 16-27 for grades 7-12 and SOS For Youth Boot Camp July 9-13 for grades 6-12.
For more information, visit https://merrillartscenter.org.