Making Theater Happen Against All Odds

Manitou Theater Producer Steve Borowka and Set Designer Tony Dibernardo collaborated on a unique production of MacBeth at the Friends Seminary School in New York City.

By Steve Borowka
Camp Manitou has taught me many valuable lessons over the years. But the one that I continue to go back to is this: There is a creative solution for almost every problem. So before giving up, get creative! 

For the past few months Tony and I have been working to put together the fall play, Macbeth at my high school. Our project consisted of filming scenes at the school or around town while maintaining our school’s safety restrictions. We sent the students costumes and green screens and worked with each student to film their section of the play. No two students ever filmed at the same time in the same place. Then we edited it all together to make a movie! Here are the takeaways I learned from camp over the years and how I applied them to pull off this project. 

Ask ‘What If’ Questions. A lot of my colleagues were either cancelling their fall plays or doing Zoom readings. Neither of those options appealed to me, so I began to ask the big “What If” questions which guided us to “What if we make a movie instead?”

Surround Yourself with Talent. I knew that I couldn’t do this alone. After the incredible work that Tony did this summer building sets, I brought him on board to help with this project. Working with a group of talented people will push you to work your hardest and to hold you accountable as to not let down your team. 

Enjoy the Process  –  This was unchartered territory for me and a lot of things did not go as planned right away. We found it was important to celebrate mistakes and lean into the process. Having the student’s (or camper’s) success as the main goal really helps to ground the process and give it meaning. 

Work Hard – At camp and on this project there are times when it might be easiest to give up or cut corners. And sometimes that’s the right decision. But what I’ve learned, too, is that sometimes you can do your best work when you least expect it –  when you dig deep and decide to do it. Working hard doesn’t mean you can’t fail but it means you’ve tried. 

Our movie Macbeth is available to watch at the link below. Check it out!

I hope you’re finding ways to keep your creativity alive during these times.

Four of the five members of the 2020 Manitou Theater Department: (from left) Steve Borowka, Eric Hagen, Deanna Ott, and Tony Dibernardo.

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