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Eastern Students Take Global Field Course to Hawaii

Written by Danielle Couture

 

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Students participating in the course included Ashley Lovett, Chad Dominique, Paul Lietz, Melissa Conkling, Robert Morgan, Michael Pina. and Darcy Bruce.

 

Willimantic, CT - - Seven Eastern Connecticut State University students, accompanied by Assistant Professor of Theatre J.J. Cobb, traveled to Oahu, HI, from Jan. 1-13, to perform a series of theatrical pieces ranging from scenes to monologues to readings. The trip was the culmination of the Site-Specific Theatre course the group had taken during the fall semester, when they wrote their performances and learned about the history and culture of Hawaii.

Site-Specific Theatre is a creative approach that illuminates how a location can influence events; theatrical stories are constructed about a particular place, and are then performed on site. Students participating in the course included Ashley Lovett, Chad Dominique, Paul Lietz, Melissa Conkling, Robert Morgan, Michael Pina. and Darcy Bruce.

Cobb, who was born in Honolulu, noticed her student's assumptions and misperceptions about the Hawaiian Islands, and thought exposure to the reality of the culture was important. "During this experience, theatre is being used as a new way of 'encountering' a place," Cobb says. "In the past, the Theatre Program has offered tours for students to go to a location to study and view shows, but this is the first opportunity for students to generate and perform theatrical pieces of their own during travel."

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                                    Students visiting tourist sights in their off time.

 

When performing, the students literally "popped up" in various places around Oahu and acted out their pieces. "It was tough to battle the noise of our surroundings, including passing traffic and people," said Paul Lietz, a senior majoring in theatre. "But it was a good obstacle for me to try to find different ways to grab people's attention, since they couldn't always hear me."

The Eastern students visited many sites such as the Polynesian Cultural Center, Hanauma Bay, Pearl Harbor and the North Shore, which helped them become familiar with the history of the island. They also experienced cultural activities such as fire-dancing and paddle boarding.

Students also worked with local actors who helped them with the historical accuracy of their scripts and the pronunciation of Hawaiian words. "Getting to see their technique and how they perform and vocalize in their native tongue was probably one of the biggest things I could have gotten out of working with them," said Chad Dominique, a junior majoring in theatre. "It made me realize that theatre is and always will be a universal art form."

February 2013

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