The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: March 23, 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

Coming next fall: the Academic Resource Commons

The ARC will replace the current peer tutoring servies offered at Bates. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

The ARC will replace the current peer tutoring servies offered at Bates. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Starting the fall of 2016, a new service—the Academic Resource Commons (ARC)—will replace the current one-on-one peer tutoring service available to students. The ARC will be located in the Ladd Library on the first floor and will occupy the space between the writing center, the lounge area by the stairs and the restrooms. The furniture that was in Ladd over the past two weeks marks the general area of ARC.

The Student sat down with Daniel Sanford, the new Director of Writing of ARC at Bates, and French Professor and Associate Dean Kirk Read to discuss the purpose and goals of the ARC program and the impact it hopes to have on students. This article was edited for clarity and length.

Bates Student: What are the goals the Academic Resource Commons wants to achieve and what prompted you to start this program?

Daniel Sanford: The ARC will change the model of peer tutoring at Bates College. In a way, the college has a really nice peer tutoring program that is offered through the Writing Center and the Mathematics and Statistics Workshops, for it serves as a great model for students helping other students. However, the downside of tutoring at Bates is that many see it as something that is not relevant to them and their studies. This is especially true for upperclassmen and students in certain academic disciplines. Another flaw is that a student has to know a lot about where to go to get support and whether or not the tutoring is offered in a department or another service. The ARC, in short, pulls everything together into one center. It is one place for students to go when they are looking for support in their courses or really any aspect of their academics.

The goal of the ARC is to eliminate the current model of peer tutoring where it is two people in the basement, where one student is the expert and the other student plays the role of the non-expert. ARC is not about that; it is about hiring students into good student employment positions where they are student leaders who are trained in peer tutoring pedagogy and then put in a role to facilitate interactions between groups of students.

Kirk Read: The ARC and Faculty Commons for Learning and Teaching are under the Collaborate for the Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA) umbrella, which is an initiative of President Clayton Spencer. I am in charge of the Faculty Commons, which deals with faculty development in all kinds of ways, such as orientation for new faculty, first-year seminar development and the short-term course redesigns. The ARC, on the other hand, is the student facing side and it is a resource that is led by Daniel Sanford. It will have a physical space, unlike the Faculty Commons, in the library. It has a radically new approach to student tutoring services. The tutor is a facilitator instead of a sage, but they will be trained and they will know how to approach this.

BS: How will the tutors be chosen?

DS: We are working on finding our group for the fall. The people, who are the best fit as tutors, are people who are good students, are doing well in their studies and have gotten through their courses and learned something about getting through the course. That means that the people who are getting hired as peer tutors recently went through that class and mastered a few strategies that they can impart to their peers. It is also critical to have someone with great empathy and communication.

BS: How will you be promoting the workshops to attract students?

DS: There is a new website, the academic resource commons website which will feature all upcoming workshops and events we are putting up. The calendar is not just a place where we advertise our own programming, instead we are bringing together everything—any academically oriented student workshop can be found on these calendars. Secondly, when students come to the ARC in Ladd library, they will find resource representatives sitting at the desk who can work with them and answer any questions they may have.

KR: We have to be obvious. First-year seminars and other courses may schedule office hours there and we hope that it will become a popular, lively place to seek help. There has to be a reason and a value in going there. There will be announcements going out, but it will mainly be through the professors and the classes.

For further inquiries and more information, students are encouraged to attend the Student Forum on the Academic Resource Commons, which will be held on Friday the 25 from 12 to 1:30 pm in Commons 221/222.

Day Waves EP: Hard to Read

Day Wave, singer songwriter Jackson Phillips’ solo project founded in 2015, creates music that can be classified as a mixture of ambient and indie genres. If you have never before listened to Day Wave, think Beach House and/or Craft Spells. Think music that can lull you to sleep with its dreamy, blue, breezy vibes. Hard to Read, Day Wave’s second EP, is made up of five unique songs that give insight into Phillips’ anxieties and the feelings he has bottled up. It is a beautiful album that conveys sincere moments of introspection.

Phillips is a very talented and interesting artist who is a firm believer in making and recording his own music. In fact, in an interview with noisey, Phillips talked about the designated room in his house where he keeps all of his instruments and records all of his music. It is a step outside of the norm compared to what musicians regularly do, which is to go into a studio and record.Nonetheless, the raw product Phillips generates from this do-it-yourself method is just the type of sound he is looking for.

The opening song, “Deadbeat Girl,” highlights how other people can be hard to read. Phillips sings, “I’m looking for a reaction, but you’re not good at them,” and “I know what you’re doing, you’re running away again.” He paints a portrait of someone who is not reciprocating his feelings because she is perhaps too scared to open up and make herself vulnerable. She is “a deadbeat girl at heart.”

In the song, “Hard to Read You,” Phillips confronts the reoccurring theme with lyrics like, “Darling it’s hard to read you.” Phillips released the song “Gone” as a single earlier in 2016 and it received much positive feedback. In the song, Phillips talks about the things he never said to someone and how that person will never have the opportunity to hear those unsaid things, suggesting that this person may have left Phillips and is now gone. All of the unspoken words are instead left on the backburner. As Philllips phrases it, “They all disappear.”

In “Stuck,” Phillips focuses on his own struggles; people think they may know him yet he does not even know himself. This song also reveals that Phillips has the tendency to pull away before he gets too close to someone, similar to that of the “deadbeat girl.” He is so “stuck” in his own head with his racing thoughts but is unable to let his guard down. He just cannot seem to bring himself to open up to others. In the last song of the album, “You,” Phillips recites his unstable feelings when he says, “my feelings are all around.” This is definitely a good final song for the EP, with its emphasis on guitar and the soft tone of Phillips’s voice making for a complete ending that nourishes the ear.

Day Wave makes you feel warm and full while simultaneously melancholy. Its overall tranquil musical tone definitely contrasts with its anxious lyrics, which was probably intentionally done in order to strike a feeling in the listener; it succeeded in doing this. This album captures the fundamental nature of anxiety, which is a constant pull between not worrying and worrying too much. I would definitely recommend giving it a listen. It’s a strangely pleasant companion for your own contemplation on a rainy afternoon.

 

2016 has truly been madness

The first two rounds of the 2016 NCAA tournament have been, without a doubt, one of the best opening weekends in tournament history. Yes, 2013 does give it a run for its money, where Florida Gulf Coast’s run to the Sweet 16 highlighted a tournament of upsets that also included La Salle, Harvard, and Ole Miss picking up first round wins, but this year’s first two rounds have not only seen upsets, but fantastic games that have went down to the final whistle.

The story of the first round certainly centers on the teams that were not expected to win. Fourteen seed Stephen F. Austin, behind the play of Thomas Walkup, knocked off number three West Virginia at its own game. The Mountaineers, who are known for their stingy defense that extends from end line to end line, turned the ball over 22 times to an undersized, albeit quick, Lumberjack squad. Their sensational senior Walkup led the charge on both ends, getting to the foul line 20 times and converting 19, contributing to his 33 points. He also made several key defensive stops, including a big block in the final minutes of the game.

Although Stephen F. Austin’s run ended two days later to Notre Dame, they avoided the typical Round of 32 slump that has plagued mid-majors in tournaments past. With their one point, buzzer-beating loss, the Lumberjacks without a doubt captured the hearts and minds of many with their great defensive and offensive efforts the first weekend.

Yale pulled off another notable upset of the first round by defeating Baylor. In their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1962, the Bulldogs took down the Bears in a game that saw the action go down to the wire. With the loss, Baylor’s tournament struggles continued, as it was their second straight first round exit by four points or less.

Aside from the notable upsets, buzzer-beating thrillers were another theme of the first weekend. Arkansas Little Rock, who came back from a sizable deficit to eventually hit a game-tying shot in regulation against Purdue, beat the Boilermakers in overtime to send them to a matchup with Iowa State. The magic quickly ran out, however, as they lost to the Cyclones two days later. The following day, Northern Iowa broke the hearts of Texas Longhorn fans behind Paul Jesperson’s half-court heave that banked in as the clock expired.

Looking forward, number one overall seed Kansas looks like the ultimate favorite. After being one of the only consistent teams all season, the Jayhawks looked solid in their opener and then defeated a typical tourney powerhouse Connecticut Huskie teams. One other notable team to pay attention to as the tournament progresses certainly includes North Carolina, who had no problem advancing to the Sweet 16 under Roy Williams.

 

Baseball splits Middlebury doubleheader

Conor Reenstierna ‘16 is batting .324 on the young season. (Berto Diaz/Courtesy Photo)

Conor Reenstierna ‘16 is batting .324 on the young season.
(Berto Diaz/Courtesy Photo)

 

The Bates baseball team took their talents to Northborough, Massachusetts on Saturday for a doubleheader against Middlebury. Although both teams are members of the NESCAC, the two games were considered non-conference.

Senior right-hander Connor Colombo got the start on the mound in Game One. Colombo pitched beautifully, as he lasted six innings, only gave up two hits, and conceded zero earned runs. The one run Middlebury was able to score was off an error. Coming off a 4-1 campaign on the mound last season, this was Colombo’s first win of 2016.

Middlebury began the game with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Catcher Max Araya hit a double with two outs. Then, junior first baseman Jason Lock brought Araya home on a Bates error.

After a scoreless bottom of the first, the Bobcat bats came alive in the second. Sophomore Asher McDonald hit a two out single, and then junior Eric Vilanova hit his first career home run to dead center.

Middlebury starter Colby Morris and Colombo were firing on all cylinders, as neither team could score a run off the two pitchers for the rest of the game. Bates reliever Rob DiFranco entered the game in the top of the seventh to finish off the Panthers. However, DiFranco did make Bobcat fans a little nervous after giving up a single and a walk to start the inning. Middlebury had two runners on base with no outs. Then on a sacrifice bunt, the Panthers put the two runners in scoring position. Uh oh. But the Bates senior proved to be unfazed as he forced the next two batters to ground out. Game over. The Bobcats were able to pull out a hard fought 2-1 win in the first contest of the doubleheader.

Bates sophomore Connor Speed headed out onto the mound in the afternoon game. The Panthers started the scoring off with two runs in the bottom of the second. The runs were the product of a Brendan Donohue double. After Middlebury scored another run in the third, Bates found themselves down 3-0.

In the top of the fourth, junior John Dinucci stepped to the plate and sensed that the Bobcats needed a big play to get the game going. Dinucci blasted a line drive double to right center field. Next up was senior Conor Reenstierna; he wasted no time, bringing Dinucci home on a double just one pitch into the at-bat. The Panthers’ outfielders then took a few steps bat as junior Brendan Fox headed to the plate. Fox has had a red hot start to the 2016 season. Through 11 games he is hitting .500 with a homer and 12 RBIs. Fox stayed on fire by hitting a two-run homer to tie the game at 3.

The next few innings were uneventful as both pitchers settled into the game. Bates senior relief pitch Chris Ward retired the side in order to send the game into extra innings. Ward was still on the mound in the bottom of the 9th with the score locked at 3-3. Middlebury outfielder Sam Graf hit a shot to left field that just made it over the fence, and the Panthers mobbed the freshmen after his dramatic first career home run.

Following a 9-7 loss to Husson the following day, Bates is 5-7 on the season. Their next action will be another doubleheader, this time at Salem State on Saturday.

 

Senior Studio Art Thesis: Classical fundamentals meet modern photography

Julian Bardin ’16 gives art fundamentals a modern twist in his Studio Art senior thesis. Using photography and slight Photoshop manipulation, Bardin takes theatrical and abstract photos that strip an image down to its basics: light, form and movement.

He is inspired by classical artists, especially Caravaggio (a 17th century painter known for contrasting shadows and light) and the ballerina paintings of Degas. In order to highlight movement and light, Bardin takes photos of dancers in front of a background of trees. It takes creativity, however, to get the exact effect.

Bardin said, “As I started working on this series, I became really interested in contrasting the fluid movement of dancers with the very still, repetitive forms of trees. To up the contrast between these elements, I started shooting at night. I use car headlights as a powerful lighting source to light a forest, turning the trees into graphic, dramatic linear shapes and creating a theatrical backdrop. I use a long exposure to blur my model’s movement, making a contrast with the stillness of my ‘sets.’ I then subtly manipulate the images on Adobe Photoshop, adjusting the lights and darks to further abstract the image.”

Although he does use some Photoshop, Bardin does not produce heavily manipulated images. This is a change of pace from his previous work in high school and at Bates in which he often photoshopped in order to create scenes reminiscent of classical paintings. While image manipulation is a perfectly valid way to create art, Bardin brings his photography back to the basics. He creates the images mostly on set, just as his photos bring out the fundamentals of image composition.

While the photos feature dancers, Bardin himself has never taken a dance class before this semester. Working with models was an enjoyable collaborative opportunity for him. “For this series I worked a lot with Bates dancers and I found it immensely valuable to get their input on my work because of the nature of what they do; dancers have such an understanding of how the forms and movements they are making translate to the viewer,” Bardin said.

Working on a project that involves not only so many technical aspects but also collaboration is not without its challenges. On top of logistical issues, conveying a creative vision just right can also be a struggle. “In the early stages, I struggled with how to make my pieces focus more on the aesthetic elements I was exploring versus a narrative. My work has kind of a mysterious, eerie quality to it that I kind of like. It adds a little dimension to the photographs. What I didn’t want was a body of work that had a suggestive narrative that was solely about people dancing in the woods. There are a lot of connotations with that, and a lot of them have become sort of cliché. So I think abstracting the figures a bit has helped to try to highlight these elements I wanted to explore and to try to make that more apparent to the viewer.”

Now approaching the end of his thesis, Bardin feels like he has learned more from his project than just technical artistic skills. “I also think I’ve become a more confident artist,” he says. “Taking on a project like this can be a bit daunting; there are a lot of expectations and you can start to second guess what you’re making. Sometimes I question my technical abilities and sometimes it’s about my vision for the work. I think some really valuable advice that I’ve gotten is just to execute an idea and keep coming up with work instead of just thinking about it. Sometimes it works, often times it doesn’t. Just trying out new techniques and concepts has not only allowed me to produce a body of work I’m proud of, but it has also helped me become more well versed in my medium. I think that confidence shows in the work.”

 

Review: Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered

Kendrick Lamar has long had an interest in using his albums as a format for storytelling. 2012’s Good Kid M.A.A.D City told the story of Lamar’s life growing up in Compton, California. Taking a detail oriented, microcosmic approach, the album looked at issues of inner city violence and generational poverty from the perspective of one young man. Taking a more expansive approach on 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar told a story of American racism and police brutality and the way these issues impacted his sense of self.

On his new surprise release, Untitled Unmastered, Lamar begins to move away from the narrative style of his previous albums. He is still concerned with being a storyteller and a voice for the disenfranchised but has less of an interest here in cultivating a cohesive statement.

Made up primarily of unused tracks from the past few years, Untitled Unmastered moves freely in multiple directions. It has a certain spontaneity that makes it distinct from Lamar’s larger musical statements. With all untitled tracks and a blank album cover, it seems Lamar wants his music to travel in its own organic directions without subscribing to a larger theme or context.

The album opens with “Untitled 1,” a foreboding, jazzy track filled with apocalyptic imagery. Lamar raps, “Life no longer infinity this was the final calling/we all nervous and crying, moving in caution/in disbeliefs our belief’s the reason for all this.” Lamar evokes what he sees as a moral breakdown in American culture, which he sees as caused by a lack of faith. He ties together physical deterioration with spiritual emptiness, emphasizing the unique connection between the internal spiritual life with external political and social strife.

On “Untitled 3”, Lamar finds himself searching for answers on how to better live his life, asking representatives of various ethnic groups. An Asian tells him to seek enlightenment and inner peace through the renunciation of ambition. A Native American tells him to seek land, investment, and material security, an ironic comment on the impact of materialistic values hurting indigenous groups throughout American history. The Black man tells him to seek sexual gratification, with Lamar noting the ways in which a sense of power for oppressed groups can be attained through sexuality. Finally, the White man tells him to seek money, fame and ambition. The concept of one’s soul being driven by materialism is interestingly connected with the historical institution of slavery.

“Untitled 4,” which features vocals from SZA, has a weary soft sound. She sings tiredly in the song’s verse, “And welfare don’t mean well for you, you, you/they tell me that my bill is past due, due, due.” On the chorus, Lamar again tackles the idea of obtaining power through sex with the line, “Head is the answer.” The double meaning of “head” here implies that power comes through both sexuality and education. Lamar himself keeps a low profile on the track. He can only be heard whispering to SZA in the background, as though he is informing her of what to say.

All in all, Untitled Unmastered is a highly diverse and eclectic piece. Lamar brings his typical storytelling and social commentary, but does so in a more free-flowing, less deliberate way. While not as grand a statement as To Pimp a Butterfly, Untitled Unmastered is an effective and important piece in its own right.

 

Student spotlight: Becca Ferguson ’18 on the art of spoken word

VCS provides many opportunities for students to showcase their own work. DREW PERLMUTTER/THE BATES STUDENT

Last week, the Benjamin Mays Center opened its doors with a warm welcome to Sister Outsider, one of the nation’s most prominent and powerful spoken word duos. Sister Outsider travels to numerous colleges and universities in an effort to facilitate change and stop our society’s marginalization of minority groups. Exactly one week later, Village Club Series continued their spoken word trend and brought student written poems to the stage.

Student performances of spoken word have always been a popular at Bates College, which is why events like this spark conversation and allow the student body to indulge in the intimacy fostered between the poet and the audience.

At this past week’s VCS performance, Anna Berenson ’16, Becca Ferguson ’18, Will Hallet ’16, Britiny Lee ’19, Rakiya Mohamed ’18, and Nick Muccio ’16 shared their art. Their personal poems epitomized the essence of spoken word and gave the audience a new perspective on the topics they were putting out in the open.

Ferguson shared three original poems in this performance. One entitled “Thanksgiving” exposed the social display of Native Americans in the United States today. She said, “I wanted to explore the way media, education, history, and citizens consciously and unconsciously appropriate Native culture.”

Becca Ferguson ’18 performs her personal poems. DREW PERLMUTTER/THE BATES STUDENT

This particular poem was written out of Ferguson’s long lasting fascination with Native American history, especially the ongoing issue of Native American rights. “When I was a junior in high school, I went to Rosebud Indian Reservation and lived amongst the Lakota population there for two weeks. During that time I observed poverty and anger caused by both the American justice system and appropriation of Native cultures and traditions by our society.” This experience paired with Professor Joe Hall’s Native American History course, inspired Ferguson to write this poem questioning some of the conscious and unconscious examples of cultural appropriation today.

The second poem she shared is entitled “MJ.” She spoke about “transitions between high school and college and how friendships can be lost or strengthened through this process.” Written right before her high school graduation, this poem expressed her personal fears she had of losing relationships and friendships during the transition from high school to college. What made this experience so special was the fact that one of her friends from home was visiting her and got to see Ferguson perform this heart-wrenching and truth-telling poem live.

Her third and final poem was untitled and revealed the often neglected subject of catcalling and marginalization of women. This poem was certainly more “slam” than the others because the tone was packed with the fear and anger Ferguson herself has felt during her time at Bates with regards to catcalling. “I have experienced, heard, and observed catcalling and seen how it causes discomfort and self-consciousness in women. I personally think catcalling is obscene and believe that it should be discussed and questioned more openly on college campuses across the country. I wrote this poem to try to educate people about my perspective.”

Students present their powerful spoken word at VCS. DREW PERLMUTTER/THE BATES STUDENT

Overall, Ferguson enjoyed the supportive atmosphere VCS offered during her first slam poetry performance. “The space is very open and lends itself to an intimate performance, and I really appreciated the opportunity to share my words at a VCS event.”

While she is new at writing this type of poetry, she plans on continuing this path. As a firm supporter in spoken word, she believes it can be an “effective method of communicating a controversial message or feeling and getting an audience to see something in a different light.”

Softball begins the season winless

After spending the past week down in Clermont, Florida playing ten games in five days, the Bobcats returned to Bates winless and looking for answers as they begin conference play. Starting out sluggish by only scoring three runs or less in six of their first seven games, the bats came alive for the ’Cats as they scored 26 total runs in their final three games.

Beginning midway through their early season slate, the team showed certain promise versus North Central on March 19. Against Central, the Bobcats jumped out to the early lead behind the efforts of first-year Andrea Russo, who went 3-4 with a double and a run. However, the Illinois-area team took the lead for good in the third inning when they scored four runs.

The following game against Carthage, the Bobcat bats exploded in an eight-inning affair that saw the lead exchange hands multiple times. Behind sixteen hits, including sophomore Emma Schiller’s first career home run, which was a grand slam, the ’Cats broke out of their early season slump.

After eventually tying the game at 13, it remained that way through the sixth and seventh innings, but Carthage managed to take the lead in the eighth eventually sealing the win thereafter 14-13.

In the final two games of the Florida trip, the ‘Cats totaled 27 hits, but could not get their first victory, losing to Union 8-3 and Worcester State 12-10.

The Bobcats look to regroup as they have some time to prepare for a NESCAC doubleheader against Trinity on April 2.

 

Community engagement at Bates

Since September I have regularly gone into the Lewiston District Court to work with Maine’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. A couple of other Bates students and I help to provide family law advice for low-income residents by dealing with in-take and determining eligibility. Honestly, it is a great feeling to make a difference in a community that has become your adopted home.

At the end of a particularly busy day there was one person left. We had warned him that he would probably not be seen, but he decided to stick around just in case. This man struck up a conversation with me, something that does not usually happen. He told me that he was an immigrant from Djibouti and that he had lived in Tennessee prior to coming to Lewiston. I asked him if he ever missed his home abroad, and his response was, “Yes, but I am an American now.” He went on to tell me that he had just gained his citizenship. This led to a larger discussion, which involved religion and American politics—both at the national level and with regards to Lewiston’s recent mayoral race. During our talk, he told me he was Muslim and I told him I was Jewish. Our conversation ended when the attorney called him in. As we both stood up he extended his arm. As I shook his hand he looked at me and said, “See, a Muslim and a Jew, just two Americans.” He then followed the attorney. He really caught me off guard, especially considering the racial, religious, and political tensions within not just Lewiston, but the entire nation.

As I comprehended this simple, yet profound statement, I realized that this experience, and others like it, are why community engagement is so important—you experience personal growth while helping to make a difference.

Batesies need to begin to utilize the community engagement resources that surround us. The Lewiston/Auburn area is a community that is often in need of our services, but more importantly, it is a community that openly welcomes us into their lives and homes. Bates students are an untapped source of potential for growth in L/A. On the other hand, as my experience shows, Bates students have a lot to gain from volunteering. Finally, it is important to get away from campus and the sheltered and privileged environment it affords us. As Ellis Obrien, a freshman who volunteers by tutoring at Lewiston High School said, “I’ve become a better person and gained perspective on what it means to contribute to society. I feel like an essential part of the Bates experience is spending time in Lewiston, and I believe the best way to get to know your community is to volunteer and serve with the locals.” Perhaps Bates should have a community engagement requirement.

For anyone looking to get involved with community engagement, the Harward Center for Community Partnership is a great place to start. The Harward Center offers great community engagement opportunities for all class years. The Bonner Leadership Program is a way for incoming freshman to get involved and stay involved with community service during their time at Bates. The Bates Community Liaison and the Community Outreach Fellows programs offer opportunities for upperclassmen to get involved in community engagement in ways that are related to their existing interests. Perhaps most importantly, the Harward Center offers many different forms of community-engaged learning and miscellaneous volunteer opportunities for students who want to get involved but already have a packed schedule. The Harward Center even offers grants for faculty, staff, and students during the academic year and the summer. If someone is interested in community engagement the Harward Center makes it easy for him or her to get involved.

“Ancient History” delivers a thought provoking performance

Greenawalt showcases his wry character. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Is it okay to want nice things? Is it acceptable to be stereotypical? Do people really mean what they say? These are just a few of the questions explored in David Ives’ “Ancient History,” directed by Will Sartorius ’16. Performed in the Benjamin Mayes Center, this two-person play reminded its viewers of the inherent flaws in human nature and the ways that people do or do not overcome them.

When the house lights dimmed and the set went to black, the anticipation level in the audience was immediately palpable. When the lights came up we meet the couple around whom the play revolves, Jack and Ruth, played by Jonah Greenawalt ’16 and Natalie Silver ’16 respectively. There is nothing outwardly remarkable about these two. They are ordinary people in their mid-thirties.

As the play progressed, however, the audience was given access to the subconscious thoughts of both Ruth and Jack. You may ask, how is this possible? How is it possible to show a person’s thoughts to the audience during a live performance? With the ring of a telephone and a spotlight, Sartorius created an environment that allowed the audience to step inside the characters’ minds in order to see what they were thinking but not outwardly voicing.

As the play goes on, Ruth’s Jewish roots and Jack’s Catholic ones start to cross more and more. Finally, Ruth is able to vocalize that she craves a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence and 2.1 children while Jack is still completely content being a quasi-socialist who lives on six thousand dollars a year.

Let us not forget that the entire play happens in the span of one night, just seventy minutes for the audience. In those seventy minutes, however, the audience becomes attached to the characters in front of them.

The chemistry between the two characters, so carefully cultivated by Greenawalt and Silver, makes it all the more heartbreaking when the couple makes their inevitable split. Greenawalt said, “The most gratifying part of the project has been building the chemistry between Nat and I. Playing a couple that’s been in a long-term relationship requires a deep familiarity that I think we’ve really cultivated over the past few months of rehearsal.” The empathy that these two actors are able to extract from the audience is a direct correlation to their stellar acting.

Greenawalt noted that, while playing his character, “There’s usually room for spontaneity. The script paints him as an off-the-cuff, overly performative guy, so I’ve never felt like I have to hold back.” This breathing room Ives left for the actor in the script allowed for a more fluid performance and believable portrayal of the character.

It is also important to recognize all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. There are many steps to executing a play such as this, including directing. Sartorius said that the best part of directing for him is “the sense of creative collaboration. It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a handful of very talented, motivated people.” Successful collaboration behind the scenes translates to a stronger performance by the actors on stage. This production certainly reflected this.

Greenawalt and Silver ‘s emotional connection is palpable. JOHN NEUFELD/THE BATES STUDENT

Sartorius was originally thinking that he wanted to do a farcical play but he said, “After reading numerous farces, I determined that a farce lacked the depth and emotional pulls that I really wanted from a play.” With the help of his playwriting professor, Cory Hinkle, and his friend Sam Myers ’16, Sartorius found this play. He admitted, “Once I read ‘Ancient History,’ I was hooked. It was just as hysterical as it was gut wrenching, the exact themes I was looking for.”

As any theatergoer can tell you, the play does not happen without the Stage Manager. This was senior Fiona Frick’s first time stage-managing at Bates. She notes, “I’ve always wanted to try my hand in the theater department and ‘Ancient History’ truly has been such a rewarding experience.”

Using the Benjamin Mays Center as a venue was a different experience for everyone involved. Frick said, “It’s an awesome space that could definitely be used more for future productions. The space lends itself very well to the play, perhaps even more so than Shaeffer or Gannet.” The Mays Center provided a homey feel that was vital to this performance.

I left this production thinking. I thought about both my own future and what goes unsaid. “Ancient History” was a production that stuck with the viewer long after the sound of the last clap.

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