Comics Review: Steven Universe “Camp Pining Play

Fanfic larger than life.

Overview:

Peridot and Lapis are moved by a piece of Camp Pining Hearts fanfiction, and through some investigation, they realize that the true author is actually Lars. They want to make something great out of it, a tribute, and they decide on a play where people can volunteer roles.

Our Take:

A lot of this story has to do with reconciling creative vision with reality, something a lot of artists struggle with. Peridot, as what is essentially the creative director of the play, is so invested in the product. She has studied what makes a story good, charted everything out, and has a very particular image of how everything should play out. Of course, this is extremely hard to pull off, with many different people working on the team. Everyone has different kinds of talents, abilities, and most importantly, vision for the role. There is no one single overseer that creates a final product. A director may give instructions, but they aren’t the end all be all. Peridot has to reconcile with this; she wants to make the best possible product, but what is in her head doesn’t necessarily match what’s on stage. She is quite picky, and it comes to a point where she is more potentially harmful than helpful.

Lars also has to reconcile with this too. As the original author of the fic, he is humbled in his own way by the request, and takes pride in watching it from afar. As things turn out, he becomes more and more invested, but same with Peridot, this doesn’t always have the best results. However, what exists on the page doesn’t necessarily match up visually, and especially not with actors.

It’s only once the two put aside being nitpicky and let the actors put themselves into their parts does the play flourish.

One venue that I didn’t expect this to go to, but was pleasantly surprised at, is trauma and dealing with trauma. Lapis, understandably so, is extremely uncomfortable with the idea of fusion. The ending of the play involves a fake fusion, and even though it’s with Steven, a person she trusts, she isn’t comfortable with the idea. Still, she pushes through, trying to be more relaxed for the sake of everyone else who’s having a good time- until her moment comes. At the climactic peak, she freezes. Even though it’s something she thought she could do, she can’t. Instead of heckling her into participating, the group understands and gives her space. Peridot even apologizes for putting the scene in- and the rest of the actors perform the fake fusion in Lapis’ place. It’s a simple but important thing to take from the story; that sometimes you aren’t okay, and saying that you’re not isn’t a burden on other people. Those who are close to you sometimes, they understand.

Overall, a cute story with some good messages. Worth a read!

Noelle Ogawa

A writer, editor, and 4th generation New Yorker. An avid fan of comics and manga, particularly psychological thrillers, or featuring sports. Can't stay away from the horror genre. Long-time kaiju enthusiast.

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