The Camp Jabberwocky stage was a small Amish town in Pennsylvania where Dr. Frankenstein set up a laboratory. Using high voltage electricity, he zapped his green creature, Derrick, to life.

The mad doctor soon abandoned Derrick in the pristine country. Friendless, he had to defend himself for survival. Townspeople heard him roaming through the woods at night. Ironically, the children were not afraid of the monster but were afraid of electricity, because it is unnatural in Amish society.

Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant, felt very sad for Derrick because he was lonely. So, Igore went to graveyards to get body parts to make him friends.

Our fun-loving counselors, fellow campers and I fully enjoyed ourselves entertaining our audience performing the July play, Frankenstein’s Last Dance. Our packed audience cheered and burst into laughter while watching Camp Jabberwocky’s version of Frankenstein, learning how the Amish people taught Derrick and his new buddies social skills and befriended them.

As the band was playing Putting on the Ritz, Jonathan Herzog, one of my cabin mates, tap danced beautifully with Derrick, teaching him how to dance and sing. And, in another scene, two young gorgeous Amish women looked beyond my physical ugliness as a green monster and danced with me. One of them spun me around in my wheelchair.

Corby Reese saw an amazing dance in 1994 when Arthur Bradford was dancing with Nancy Connelly while she was in her wheelchair. After that dance number, Corby immediately knew he had to be a part of camp and became a counselor the following summer. He is now the treasurer on the board of Camp Jabberwocky.

Michael Leon, one of the creative counselors, wrote Frankenstein’s Last Dance. While he writes the camp plays, it helps him to toss off his counselor’s hat and put on his professional playwright’s hat. That way, he explained, having the playwright’s perspective to figure “out how to arrange 70 people of varying disabilities and skill sets — some wheelchairs, some walkers, some people who have never been on stage before — the range is intense.”

Michael has written the past four plays for the July session of Camp Jabberwocky, but I think writing Frankenstein’s Last Dance was most challenging. “Taking on a story whose central theme focuses on deformity, and the concept of what a ‘monster’ is — I think there are a lot of ways that could have gone completely wrong,” Michael said. “But that’s part of what was beautiful, watching the story kind of naturally emerge throughout the preceding weeks at camp.”

Boredom from the long hours of play practice left me when I became awed watching one of the counselors, Susie Eckman, creating the backdrop of Gene Wilder who starred in the movie Young Frankenstein. Susie is a medical student and an extremely talented artist. Her black and white backdrop, including, the actor’s wild and untamed frizzy hair, was breathtaking!

I agree with Faith Carter that the play Frankenstein’s Last Dance was fun to perform. “A lot of parents and audience members told me afterwards that this was one of the best they had seen in a long time,” Faith said.

Faith has been enjoying her summers at Camp Jabberwocky for the past 39 years. At age nine, her first play was in 1977 when she played one of the kittens in Three Little Kittens. “I remember being excited about it because I got to walk onstage with my walker, and roll on my tummy offstage when I was done,” she recalled.

Before the plays at the camp became popular in the mid 1970s, Helen Lamb, founder of Camp Jabberwocky, had rhythm band concerts. Campers played instruments (bells, triangles, symbols and drums) while she was playing the piano. The concerts helped raised money for the camp.

The annual play raises $800 to $1,000 by receiving generous donations. Performing also gives fellow campers and me the opportunity to demonstrate our abilities, not our physical and intellectual limitations.

The camp’s 2012 performance of The Great Gatsby had a war scene with a lonely soldier, played by camper Sam Stoddard, in a trance holding a picture of a woman. A comrade asked, “Is that a picture of your girl?” Sam replied, “No, my mom.”

Michael’s heart still jumps to this day thinking about the Gazette reporter who quoted Sam as an actor in her story and did not mentioned his Down syndrome. “That should be our goal every year,” Michael said.

On August 9, the August session of Camp Jabberwocky performed a play loosely based on the film Mystery Man. It essentially followed a hero who lost sponsorships and decided to release a super villain to gain press. But this turned out poorly for the hero when he was captured.

Enter the Mystery Men, a group of inept super heroes who were eager to help and prove their worth. The audience watched the heroes as they went through their trials of triumph, love and danger to rescue the captured Mystery Man.

Camp Jabberwocky is now looking forward to its 5k run on Saturday, August 23, at the Farm Institute in Edgartown. Anyone can join the fun by going to to register.

Also, an anonymous donor will match donations made through the summer. Donations can be made at

Paul Remy is a freelance writer who lives in Sharon.