Dec. 11, 2022
By Dana Treier
Camp was in session on the Lyndhurst Middle School stage on Nov. 17 and 18 for the LHS production of Sinead Daly’s dramatic comedy “June, July, August,” which was directed by Ms. Coppola and assistant directed by Mr. DeVito.
In this coming-of-age play, junior counselors and head counselors–who were portrayed by an ensemble cast of 18 students–expected a calm and carefree summer at the all-female Camp Timberwoods in upstate New York. However, plans went awry as they were forced to tackle the serious topics of grief, growing up and responsibility.
Sophomore Autumn Peduto, who played the cautious junior counselor Quinn, said she liked the play because it promoted self-discovery and women’s leadership.
“It’s so refreshing to see these women be allowed just to enjoy something without the judgment of anyone,” Peduto said. “It’s really empowering to see them thrive and feel free to do what they love.”
Quinn strove to weave the importance of safety into the sailing lessons she taught the campers.
“The main conflict in the show is caused by Quinn’s rules being ignored, and I think seeing the outcome of that can inspire people to care more about safety and rules,” Peduto said.
While Quinn concentrated on making careful choices, boy-crazy junior counselor June (junior Maya Wachlaczenko) focused on her boyfriend, Auggie.
“The main conflict in the show is caused by Quinn’s rules being ignored….”
After the camp dance, June wanted to impress Auggie, so she ignored the safety procedures and took a boat out in the middle of the night. This decision resulted in Auggie’s drowning and June’s grief.
“It is definitely the most emotional thing I have ever had to do or act,” Wachlaczenko said. “Portraying the heartbreak and mental fatigue that June faces is exhausting, but it is so worth it. That is the first time we see her isolated and truly alone after the most important part of her died.”
As a result of Auggie’s death, June and Auggie’s sister Fiona (junior Sadia Iqbal) made peace.
Wachlaczenko said heartbreak and forgiveness are powerful experiences to portray because they are universal.
“[June’s] emotions and love for others sometimes take control over her, and the same happens to me,” Wachlaczenko said. “The audience learns that forgiveness is possible.”
Other characters, including junior counselor Phoebe (sophomore Nancy Attia) and Associate Camp Director Atticus (senior Aidan Fairchild-Sandoval), faced conflicts as well. Phoebe had the challenge of staying true to herself while also pursuing her dream of being a Division I college athlete.
“She is scared to show that she is actually smart,” Attia said. “She did not want everyone to think she is a nerd. It soon gets resolved when her friends let her know that… she should not be ashamed.”
Attia said all of the characters matured as a result of their experiences at Camp Timberwoods.
“They all encounter[ed] trouble and, once resolved, everyone had learned from it,” Attia said.
Atticus faced his own struggle as he tried to figure out the next step in his life after being rejected by the college to which he applied.
“The audience can gain a new perspective on the complexity of people’s lives and how actions can be fueled by personal problems,” Fairchild-Sandoval said. “While Atticus makes mistakes, I don’t think they ever come from a malicious place…. He simply has a lot of room for growth.”
Since he will be graduating, “June, July, August” was Fairchild-Sandoval’s last performance in an LHS play.
He said his favorite part of the experience was getting to spend time with his castmates.
“[I am] most proud of the other actors because many of them [were] new and [were] doing an incredible job,” Fairchild-Sandoval said. “Theatre is one of my happy places, and being there with my friends is a privilege.”