Sixteen-year-old Sophia Lipkin of Brooklyn, New York loves working backstage in theater productions. She might not like performing, but she is passionate about musical theater.
In the fall of 2015, Sophia worked as the stage manager for her school’s musical, which Far Corners Executive Director Lisa Burns (who also teaches choir at Sophia’s school) was music directing. She learned about FCCMT when Lisa explained about the organization and casually brought up the opportunity for her to go to Costa Rica Theater Camp to work with them. However, Sophia didn’t take it seriously until she realized she had no plans for that summer and decided to go to the Costa Rica Theater Camp and help with the 2016 production of Les Misérables.
Sophia spent around three weeks in Costa Rica. In addition to technical theatre, she was able to help with translation, because she has been studying Spanish for six years. The experience helped her significantly improve her ability to converse with native Spanish speakers. She also enjoyed the camp because she liked communicating with people from a different background than her own, and she made strong friendships which she hopes to continue. Sophia says the biggest difference between her past theatre work and Far Corners is the budget and the translation: with FCCMT there is a need to raise money, and the budget is significantly lower; also, performing a show in translation is challenging and different.
When asked why she is choosing Far Corners again for summer 2017 - she hopes to be the stage manager for Fiddler on the Roof - Sophia said that the organization has a sense of community unlike other camps. She went on to say that being in Costa Rica and speaking another language with kids are her age is fun, and something she wouldn’t find in New York City.
By Nimsi Solís
Andrés Chinchilla, a 19 year-old Monteverde native, participated in three shows with Far Corners when he was in high school: Once On This Island, In The Heights, and The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee. He enjoys plays, musicals, and singing, and learned about FCCMT from friends who had participated in previous shows. He decided to audition in 2012 because he knew it was a fun way to spend the summer rather than doing nothing. That was how it all started, but it didn’t end there.
Andrés went off to college and continued to be involved in the arts. The University of Costa Rica (UCR), where he has been studying biology for two years, requires students to take general education courses, including an arts course. Andrés took Theater Workshop his first year of college and then applied to be an assistant for the same class. After taking the course for one semester, he has been helping other students learn what he knows about theater for one year. In that time, Andrés has put on original plays in and out of class (in a theater in San José, the capital of Costa Rica) with other students from the UCR. He even did an homage to a friend of his who passed away in 2013, by creating with classmates a play called ¡Así Está El Arroz! (That is How The Rice Is) incorporating many anecdotes and stories about social problems in Costa Rica as well as the story of his friend. About Far Corners, Andrés says that having participated in the shows gave him a huge advantage in college because FCCMT taught him the basics of acting. He intends to continue being involved with theater for years to come!
Angelina Guindon grew up in San José, Costa Rica, but has lived more than half of her life in San Diego, California. She, along with husband and Monteverde native Alberto Guindon, came back to Monteverde to stay permanently in May of this year. The new FCCMT board member says she loves theater and used to love singing, participating in choirs during her high school days. Although she says that the music influence from her family comes from her father who had a music group and played seven instruments, her connection to Far Corners comes from another family member, grandson Jaden.
Jaden, having a tough time in school, was sent to Costa Rica to live with his grandparents and attend the Monteverde Friends School--one of the schools where students auditioned for FCCMT. Her grandson’s first audition landed him a role in Oliver!, the show in 2010. This was the first contact Angelina Guindon had with Far Corners and Executive Director Lisa Burns. From that moment on, her main goal has been to help the parents of cast members become more involved with the shows that happen every year. This is what she hope to accomplish by being part of the Board of Directors: to serve as a link between Far Corners and the Monteverde community, especially the parents of the youth that participate in the musicals and to guide “new parents” on how to be of help for the production of the musicals.
One semester in and already 25 community members, aged 6 and up, make up Far Corners Community Choir in Monteverde. Four of these members travel 30 km up the mountain all the way from Sardinal, through a rocky, sinuous mountain road, to take part in our Sunday afternoon rehearsals every week- talk about commitment and motivation right there! It has been wonderful to see a combination of enthusiastic beginners and some more experienced singers, led by the amazing and very patient vocal performance major Rachel Graber, grow together and merge into a wonderful group of voices that will melt your heart. The choir has learned songs in English, Spanish, German and even American Sign Language. I'm very proud of this group!