July 24, 2023

SCREEN | Molly Gordon Stages 'Theater Camp' in the Woods

"Okay, but I'm craving a performance."
Molly Gordon Ben Platt Nick Lieberman | Theater Camp
Searchlight Pictures / Picturestart
Co-written and co-directed by actress Molly Gordon, who also stars, the knowing mockumentary Theater Camp (think Waiting for Guffman), both skewers and celebrates the many wonderfully weird theatre kid archetypes. The indie comedy has so much energetic reverence for its offbeat characters at a summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains.

Starring a young ensemble around Gordon and Ben Platt as longtime unhealthy best friends, a bro-y Jimmy Tatro, meek Noah Galvin, eager Patti Harrison, and gofy Ayo Edebiri co-star as a fun bunch of immature weirdos and drama instructors attracted to drama camp culture. Its fun ensemble cast highlights all the different quirky kinds of theatre nerds and geeks coming together, from singers, actors, musicians, and stage techs.

Cleverly scripted by Galvan, Platt, Gordon, and co-director Nick Lieberman based on their short film of the same name, both the film itself and the musical within the film express the ramshackle, last-minute nature of putting on an original show under highly dramatic circumstances. Theater Camp's loving tribute to theatre also mocks the inherent conflict of the stage and the performances it naturally ignites.

What Theater Camp gets so right is the very specific personalities and eccentricities of children deeply enmeshed in theatre culture and their young adult counterparts. There's so much inherent drama mixed with codependency in the name of putting on a show and chasing the high of a performance. Gordon and Lieberman's naturalistic yet heightened sense of artistic melodrama is hilariously on point.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm

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