Navigation

50


By Ira Liebowitz

Carl Sandberg has called freedom "a habit," "a coat to be worn by some, others never to know it." Africans are growing intensely restless yearning for their "Uhruhu." Still others have attained this priceless treasure, yet don't know of its true significance. We in America have lived in freedom for nearly two hundred years. Are we now to simply disregard this gift? Are we to it as a common "habit," something to be taken for granted? On this fourth of July, the one hundred and eighty-sixth anniversary of American independence, Camp Ranger was served a helpful reminder of our inheritance by Barry Kaplan and his dramatics crew, a reminder which could not fail to have left the audience with a feeling of pride.

Before the opening show of the summer had even commenced, those viewing it were placed in the suitable frame of mind by the presence of an American Flag on each side of the stage and by Howie Greenberg's colorful backdrop depicting a map of the United States within the "Star Spangled Banner."

Thus, with the stage set, the first scene took place, its content being a musical reminiscence of our nation as "The House I Live In," sung by Sue Falk. An entrance was then made by Lois Slatin. Attempting to recreate the early history of the country, she was aided by various young ladies and gentlemen, each offering a contribution to the American story. Columbus, Lewis and Clark, and Abe Lincoln were among those mentioned, the whole producing what amounted to an inspirational climate.

The doubts voiced subsequently by the performers to the reality of all that had happened in America's past was answered in two words: growth and determination. And director Barry Kaplan silenced those doubters later when he said, quoting Franklin Roosevelt in the concluding meditation; "The only limit we have to the realization of tomorrow's dreams is the doubts of today."

As the contributing chorus continued the historical account, its curiosity as to the identity of the story-teller whom they were helping grew. The young girl was persuaded to submit an autobiographical sketch: religion -- Jew, Catholic, Protestant, Budhist; nationality -- Czech, Russian, French, Spanish, Danish, Hungarian; occupation -- carpenter, farmer, football player, mechanic, doctor, lawyer, street cleaner. This description was augmented by songs from o'er the land: Oklahoma, Alabama, Chicago, Ohio, Broadway, Texas and California. A resounding summarization of the show's significance was attained in the uncovering of the young lady's identity -- for she represented America!