English Professor Russell Peck invited members of the university community on an annual excursion to Stratford, Ontario, to see four plays this past weekend.

In all, 32 people attended the trip that left on Friday and returned Sunday night.

“The Stratford festival offers some of the best theater in the world,” Peck said. “This trip gives students a rare opportunity. There’s such a difference between reading plays in class and seeing them performed.”

From April until November each year, the Stratford Festival provides numerous plays executed by world-renowned actors, directors and set designers.

Students concurred. “It’s important to see Shakespeare performed to really understand it, and this trip gives so many students an opportunity to enjoy theater,” senior Teresa Lopez said.

Everyone had a choice of four plays among the many performed. The plays that highlighted the event were “The King and I,” “Pericles,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Troilus and Cressida” and “Taming of the Shrew.”

Many students attended the trip in previous years as well.

“It was better this time because I knew my way around town a little, and I recognized some of the actors from last year,” senior Ethan Gould said.

“Last year we saw five or six plays. Seeing all the plays at once is great because it doesn’t give your mind a chance to rest. You’re absorbed in the plays the whole weekend,” Gould added.

Some of the plays were performed differently than expected.

“‘Taming of the Shrew’ was very spirited,” Peck said. “It was set in the old west, which was a wonderful way to show the battle of the sexes.”

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” also had a creative interpretation. “‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ was the most interesting play. They set it in 18th century France,” Gould said.

“The set design was a forest with a clearing in the middle, which had a pushcart covered with technology.”

Peck felt that the trip went beyond just seeing plays.

“One of the tremendous aspects is the camraderie of the group,” Peck said.

Students felt the same way.

“Professor Peck and his wife are so kind to provide such a fun and relaxing way to spend a weekend. Other than the entertaining theater opportunities, the town of Stratford was very peaceful and beautiful,” Lopez said.

Farrell can be reached at nfarrell@campustimes.org.

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