A backyard mystery

July 27, 2021

When Mr. Bigglesworth’s secret “cinnasnails” recipe is stolen, a distinguished detective arrives to help solve the case. What ensues is a light-hearted mystery story full of twists and unique surprises. 


“Catastrophe at Bigglesworth’s Big Bakery,” a play written by Elena Parkerson ’21 and Luke Parkerson ’22, was performed by campers on July 15 at the Parkerson’s day camp, Camp Raffenstaffengusterberg. The camp, which was started by the Parkersons, Julia Shatalov ’21, and Ruth Berganross ’21 in the summer of 2020, is attended by 12 area youngsters, all of whom had a role in the play. 


“Since we wrote the script, all of the roles were tailored to the kids’ interests, so they loved their parts,” explained Luke. “There were three very small roles that were filled by Ruth and two of our three junior counselors.” 


Elena added, “From the moment we announced each part, we could see each kid’s face light up with excitement about their role. It was especially fun to watch them latch on to certain lines that we wrote or walk around singing songs from the show during pick-up.” 


Having conducted small skits and puppet shows during last year’s summer camp, Luke and Elena wanted to “shake things up” by taking on the challenge of hosting a larger production with set pieces, backgrounds, and songs. However, they couldn’t find a play in which all 12 campers could participate, so they decided to get creative. 


“At some point Elena and I exchanged the possibility of writing our own show, that way we could give ever camper a role that they would love. We have always enjoyed creative writing and using our imaginations, so we took on the challenge and accepted the new difficulties it would present. We knew that it would be a very tricky task, but it had so much potential to be a huge success,” Luke said. 


The play that was developed follows Mr. Bigglesworth, owner of the fictional world’s most famous bakery. When his secret “cinnasnails” recipe is stolen, Detective Bartholomew arrives to solve the crime, explained Elena. When all the suspects prove to be innocent, Bartholomew reveals himself as Robin DaBakery, a former employee of Mr. Bigglesworth and the one who stole the recipe. In the end, those who are present enjoy some of Mr. Bigglesworth’s delicious baked goods. 


Ruth and Julia were integral in the assembly of stage visuals and constantly brainstorming ideas to better improve the production. They also worked as stage crew for scene changes and handled the entire backstage to make sure everyone was ready for each scene. The three junior counselors—one of whom is Julia’s younger sister—were also critical to the play’s success, according to the Parkersons. 


The siblings originally thought the writing process would be finished over the course of spring recess; however, it turned into a long-term project that they were wrapping up right before the performance. “In many ways, we were the inspiration for each other by constantly exchanging ideas and crafting such a fun show together,” Luke said. 


And on the evening of the show, the campers’ performance and audience’s cheers made everything worth it. “All of us, counselors and campers alike, were so proud to finally demonstrate the results of our hard work. The kids really gave it their all during the performance, and having such a responsive audience really made the show come to life,” Elena said.