Students from Calumet College of St. Joseph’s (CCSJ) The Drama class traveled up to Ontario, Canada to experience the Stratford Festival. The play festival is the largest in the western hemisphere. The class was able to see three plays; Othello, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Private Lives. Their trip ended with the musical Little Shop of Horrors.
The group from The Drama consisted of students; Izabela Kucina, Zach James, Natalia Kotz, Shelbey Collins, and Kevin King and Professors Mark Casello and Walter Skiba.
This was the first time in six years the class was offered at CCSJ. Not only were students immersed in high culture viewings of famous plays but the group of five were able to build relationships and get away from the small town of Whiting, Indiana and experience a different part of the world.
Making The Drama a great class, not only for English majors, but for anyone that has a love for culture and travel.
There were many moments where the students had the opportunity to explore around and see all the sights Canada offered. From sitting on park benches looking over the river to taking touristy photos in front of fountains and old statues. It was a gorgeous town filled with little discoveries.
Not only were their minds expanded by the plays, they were able to become culturally aware and build an appreciation for their fellow students and the opportunities that the college is able to offer.
From Friday morning to Sunday afternoon the group not only watched world renown plays and actors but also tried food such as poutine for the first time, went behind the scenes of the stages, saw the warehouse where all the costumes and props are held, and visited different restaurants, local bars, old bookstores and scenic spots.
According to Izabela Kucina, “the bookstore was one of my favorite places. It was quaint and was filled with beautiful copies of playbooks and novels.”
Students also got some free time between tours and shows. The group explored the small, charming town of Stratford. “The bars were pretty neat” Kevin Castillo said in response to what his favorite spots were. Zach James also mentioned the little breakfast place called Old Man and Son, “It had some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had.”
The students offered their opinions and personal takes on how plays were set up and performed. “The set designs were pretty awesome for all four plays, but I enjoyed the digital projections in Othello the best.”
Kucina stated. Castillo mentions that he thought the play Private Lives was pretty entertaining. “It was great because of how well they worked with minimal cast members and how they changed up the scene’s setting.”
The trip was an overwhelming success. Students were even asking for an alumni trip back next year. The plays offered them to build their knowledge and admiration for play writing and the differences between the works. The tours of the warehouse and backstage allowed the students to see the time and dedication that goes into making the Stratford Festival one of the largest in the world.
But the students also learned the most about culture and friendships, most of the students went into this trip only knowing each other from the few classes they had together but came out being able to talk with one another on a deeper, higher cultural level than they would have had the chance to in a classroom setting.
“Why, then the world’s mine oyster” – Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.
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