Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Honors Road Trip, Destination: OKC

On Friday, September 27th, Drs. Benton, Latimore, Hada and 42 Honors students joined Dr. Edwards and 3 students from his classes in the Communication and Performance Studies program. Our destination: the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the OKC National Memorial and Museum, La Luna Mexican Cafe, and the Myriad Gardens, where we watched the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park performance of King Lear.


  1. Having the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s King Lear performed was one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. Studying the play so in-depth prior to seeing it performed enriched the experience even more. I was able to watch for signs of different things earlier in the play, watch the way the different characters were portrayed, and the way they interacted with each other. The fact that it was performed on a round, empty stage gave the play the authentic feel of when it was first performed.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the way this particular production portrayed the characters, as they met my expectations almost exactly.


    The way Shakespeare wrote the play, there are innumerable ways to interpret everything: the characters, the scenery, the costumes, and more are left up to the director to decide how to be done. There is even more than one script for this particular play. In this production, the costumes were well thought-out and matched the play perfectly. The fact that Regan and Cornwall were shown in regal attire upon Lear’s arrival at their castle added to the idea that they were dishonestly scheming against him. They did a good job with the blinding scene, maintaining the sober, tragic air, without making it horribly gory and disturbing. And finally, this production did leave out several lines, such as Edmond’s “aside” where he debated which sister to marry, but this wasn’t a huge distraction.

    In summary, seeing this play was an amazing experience. It was a good production that met my expectations in full. I highly recommend that anyone who has the chance to see it take advantage of the opportunity. It is one you will not regret.

    --Brittany Jolly

  2. I thought Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park did a superb performance of King Lear. The actor I enjoyed the most was the person playing the role of Edmond. I believe he engaged with the audience the best, especially during his many soliloquies. I thought that they portrayed Gonerill in this version of the play as more of a victim and Regan seemed to be more evil at heart. Elizabeth and I were discussing that after being able to watch the play in its entirety we can sympathize with Lear’s daughters more. Lear is angry from the get go and he has no qualms about breaking the heart of his favorite daughter at the beginning of the play. I, also, really enjoyed the portrayal of Oswald in this version. He is given more layers and has more shades of gray than black and white. They had the romance going on behind the scenes with him and Gonerill and Regan too. I believe his jealousy was provoked when he witnessed Gonerill and Edmond kissing and he snapped; that is why he went after Gloucester, he wanted to get back into good favor with Gonerill.

    Ozment 2
    The National Memorial museum was a very interesting museum. I liked how they made it chronological so it is like you are going through the day and experiencing what the people who were involved were experiencing at the time. One story that particularly stood out to me was a lady who had her leg stuck beneath so much rubble they could not free it. Eventually, after two new bomb scares, the decision was made to amputate her leg, right then and there, to hopefully save her life. I cannot even begin to imagine having my leg amputated without any anesthesia and the doctor using primitive tools like a rope and pocket knife. Also, the rescue workers left her two times because there were additional bomb scares. She must have been terrified to be left there stuck in the rubble with no means of escape just waiting to see if another bomb would go off and potentially kill her this time.

    I enjoyed going to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. I particularly enjoyed my group’s tour guide. He was very lively and into what he was doing. We spent most of our time in the Renaissance section of the museum; he specialized in this time period of art. Our group did not make it onto the second floor, though, I wish I could have looked at that art. I really enjoyed the room with the interactive art, the giant moving horses and tornado. I enjoy hands on experiences so this was definitely a highlight for me. Erin Ozment

  3. The art museum was very interesting thanks to our tour guide! He knew so much about each gallery. It wasn’t just face value facts either; it could be history of the art, what was going on in history at the time, how the art piece related to the other art, its differences compared to the other pieces, and the progress in technique. I really enjoyed learning so much in so little time. I wish we didn’t have to rush through the temporary gallery and third floor, and skip the second floor. Also I wouldn’t have minded browsing the gift shop either but didn’t have time! I had actually never been to the museum before but my mom had recently taken some students there and told me about it.

    As for the memorial, I had been to the grounds and garden, but not since I was a kid. So I had not been to the actual museum either. I spent a lot of time on the third floor, quickly glanced at the second, and then had to leave. I’m a very slow browser and a reader. So once again I felt rushed and realized I should have been paying attention to time so that I could spend an equal amount of time throughout. I felt very much moved by what I saw, heard, and read. It made it so real with the objects from the wreckage, recordings, and interviews. I probably cried at least half the time. I’m very much like my mother in that way. But anyways, the stories and the heroes were so inspiring, especially since I want to be a nurse. The story of Rebecca Anderson – a licensed practical nurse – was, by far, the most inspiring and important to me. Anderson, 37 years old at the time, rushed to help anyone she could. While helping two people out of the building she suffered a head injury. All of the sudden she collapses into the arms of a fellow rescuer. Doctors did successfully release pressure to her brain and stabilize her, but after a few days her condition worsened and she died. She was the only responder, out of hundreds, to die trying to help. Her dedication to people and ultimate sacrifice was absolutely inspirational. I hope to be that devoted to my job and loyal to my fellow citizens and country.

    Lastly, Shakespeare in the Park was awesome. I sat in the “best seats” (front row) and enjoyed every minute. It was great to see the play all at once and get a better sense of how the characters were being portrayed. I really enjoyed the acting and how they used the space that had without much scenery and few props.

    -Elizabeth Keck

  4. I had never attended a play before Friday; I had a great time. I especially enjoyed the way that the Fool was portrayed in this production. From watching the different ways he was characterized in various productions in class, I thought that I had a general idea of the way that I would cast him. Shakespeare in the park adhered to my view, depicting him as young and rather saucy, as opposed to an old, senile fool. I found that in depicting the Fool as a funny, but cynical man made more sense in his relationship to Lear than a scarecrow-esque geezer who was just as crazy as the king.
    I also found the location of the play very entertaining. With the Devon tower in the background and the cool breeze coming up from the water, I felt as though my entire experience to be enhanced. The cast delivered an impeccable performance. I feel that had someone not read the play, they probably could have still followed what was going on. Of course, reading it was advantageous to my viewing experience. I really enjoyed the play and will most definitely be going back. -Kristina Mayfield

  5. I enjoyed our field trip to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park's interpretation of King Lear. Although we had already seen various scenes in class, it was nice to be able to see the entire play come to life and to see the way the actors interpreted the actions and attitudes of the characters. I liked the fact that they portrayed the sisters as the more evil of the bunch, and their father as more of the victim. That is how I understood them to be in my head while I was reading the play. I also thought that not having props and scenery changes would bother me, but having already read and analyzed the play, I was able to focus on the story line instead of being tripped up on the words and what was going on the whole time.
    Another thing I really enjoyed was just being able to enjoy a night out with fellow honors students. I only have class with a small group of honors students, so it is nice to be able to socialize with others that I do not see as often. Walking around in our down time was one of the best parts of the trip. As childish as it may sound, I know we all very much enjoyed ourselves at the play ground in the park. It may have been designed for children much younger than us, but us honors students really are kids at heart and it is nice to be able to let our hair down and not be focused on school for once. I liked the trip and am excited to see what is in store for the honors program field trip next year.

    -Emma Rolin

  6. I really enjoyed watching King Lear performed at Shakespeare in the Park. I am very grateful that I was able to read and analyze the play before seeing it performed. I believe that this allowed me to have a more enjoyable experience than if I would not have read the play. I was aware of the plot and able to closely examine the way each character was being portrayed.
    I absolutely loved the stage. It was set over the water and I thought it was really neat how the actors would approach the stage from the audience. It made me feel like a part of what was happening. The stage was very simple and without the use of props, the play’s success depended on the actors.
    I was very curious to see how they would stage the blinding of Gloucester. They decided to show it on stage & it was a dramatic scene. Cornwall and Regan were thoroughly enjoying torturing Gloucester and even kissed after each of his eyes were plucked out. I thought it was disturbing how much pleasure they got from this horrendous act. Cornwall also gets fatally wounded in this scene by a servant trying to stop him from acting any further. Towards the end of the scene, Cornwall is proclaiming that he’s wounded and reaches out for Regan. Her response is a very stiff, cold exit from the stage. This was very telling and different from the other portrayals we have watched. It shows that she really doesn’t care from him at all.
    The last part of final scene was so touching. The bodies of Gonerill and Regan were brought out on stage. I really liked that Albany showed some level of grief over Gonerill’s death. He may not have truly loved her or liked her attitude and decisions, but this small moment shows that he did care for her. Next Lear enters with Cordelia’s body, showing excessive grief over her death, almost completely unaware that his other daughters have died as well. There was so much emotion in the last few minutes and so many bodies on the stage that for me, it was the best parts of the whole performance.
    I never thought that I would watch a Shakespeare play and enjoy it, but there is something almost magical about it. Without props, you have to use your imagination. The atmosphere that the actors were able to create was amazing. I had a wonderful time watching King Lear and it is an experience I will never forget.

    Ashlyn Angel

  7. I enjoyed the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park production. As with the other performances I have seen, it was very well done. I was very glad to see that the interpretation of Goneril was similar to the 2008 Lear. Of all the versions of Goneril, that was my favorite. I also appreciated Regan’s character. I liked that she was meek and somewhat weak in the beginning, however, she was still strong for the majority of the play. She was not as overpowered by Goneril as in some of the versions we have seen, and it made for an interesting power struggle. When it came to the conflict between Edmund, Goneril, and Regan, Regan was very forward and was not afraid to assert her authority, which I thought added to her character. I preferred someone who was a match and challenge to Goneril, not a half-witted woman who was desperate with grief, as we saw in a few of the versions we watched in class. For the character Cordelia, I liked her portrayal in the second half. In the first half she seemed rather flat and static; I pictured Cordelia having more passion and despair behind her words when her father dismisses her. However, there was a glimpse of that despair in the second half when she came in search of her father. Tom was portrayed a little differently than I imagined. For Tom, I pictured someone completely out of his mind, as we saw with the “Christ figure” version of Tom. In this production, Tom seemed to be of a slightly more sound mind. Though I do not think this was an entirely negative effect, indeed there were some scenes where it was necessary, there were other scenes that would have been a little more powerful if he had seemed more wretched.
    Another aspect of the performance that I enjoyed was the set. Having attended past plays, I have seen very elaborate sets created by Shakespeare in the Park. This set, however, was very simple, which added to the imagination. It enabled the
    various scenes that were required for this play, while also enabling the imagination to create anything from a windy plain to an elaborate castle. The lighting was also a very significant aspect within this play. Not only did the lights aid the imagination in creating a vivid scene, but they likewise added a distinctive mood to the various scenes.
    All of these aspects of the production combined together created a wonderful interpretation of King Lear. Though I did not get the chance to visit the Art Museum, I heard wonderful reviews about the exhibits. I plan to go back, when I get the chance, while the Italian art is still being displayed. The entire day was a great success! Great weather, good friends, old and new, and Shakespeare; what more could you want?

  8. The live version of King Lear was my most favorite version yet! The DVD versions could not even compare. Being so close to the actors, I could see them thinking, watch their facial expressions, and hear every change in their voices. It was simply amazing. I also enjoyed the art museum. It was really cool to see the new exhibit with the giant cowboys. The paintings by the former ECU student were also pretty cool! It shows just how far an ECU graduate can go! I loved getting to spend the day with my fellow honors students, walking around and getting to know them better. It was probably one of my best memories from this semester!

  9. I could not believe how talented and on-point the actors were in the live version of King Lear at Shakespeare in the Park! They literally blew me away with their dedication to the moment, and true grasp of each of their characters. In class, we had been breaking the play up scene by scene, it was really nice to see it all the way through and really helped me get an even greater understanding of the metaphors in the play and some of the bigger picture. It was very fun getting to see it with everyone and experience it as a group. Some of the roles were played a bit differently than I had imagined, but that it my only complaint with the play.
    -Alexa Engles

  10. I enjoyed the Oklahoma City Museum much more than I thought I would. Since I live less than fifteen minutes away from the museum, I have gone there at least once a year for the past several years. Therefore, I expected this visit to be boring, but, surprisingly, my tour guide held my complete attention the entire time we were there. I learned about the use of color throughout the years as well as depth in the paintings. The guide also talked about the shift from strictly religious and classical paintings to realistic, every day, commoner scenes.
    The play was also exciting. I have gone to Shakespeare in the Park before, but I found "King Lear" to be my favorite production. All of the cast members, with the exception of Cordilia, did a fantastic job! Gonerill was perfect! The role was played exactly how I imagined the character to be. The eye gouging scene was much more graphic then I expected it to be. I did not enjoy that part. I liked how the company depicted King Lear. This Lear was easy to sympathize with. He did not seem evil, just old and a little insane.
    Overall, I enjoyed every aspect of the Oklahoma City trip.

  11. My favorite part of the museum was the blown glass display just because it is so different from the rest of the art there and at other museums. It is not your typical art gallery. I thought it was sort of funny that one of the paintings done by the artist that created that particular gallery was a paper he had stepped with fallen paint on it as well. It was not meant to be a piece of art but it still turned out that way. I like the play even though I do not think it was as good as last years but I might be biased since we studied Othello. I like going together as an Honors group and attending activities like this.
    Ashley Huhman

  12. My favorite part of this trip this year was the art museum. The paintings and blown glass were still just as interesting as they were last year! The art made out of cardboard, though, was really great. I loved how we were able to interact with the artwork by making it move with ropes and pullies. Seeing how people can create life-like things with mere objects and everyday material is always fascinating. I thought it was interesting though that the next week everything was going to be taken down and recycled. I know that this was the artist's plan from the beginning, but I'm not sure if I could give up something that I had spent so many hours on! Although, the artwork being made from cardboard gives you the sense that the artist could whip it up just as easily any other time.
    The play was also really good. I enjoy getting to see the Devon building and downtown Oklahoma City before we get to the theater. King Lear I feel would have been more enjoyable if I had read the play before seeing it. I wasn't sure what was going at some points, and last year I was able to keep up with Othello really well because we had studied it for weeks in class; but it was still a good play regardless! I look forward to going back next year and seeing what OK City has in store for us!

    Chelsi Norris

  13. My favorite part of this trip was the play. The acting was to the level you would hope to experience when attending a play. The actors and producers that put the play on would have made Shakespeare proud though the concession stand prices might have upset him a tad as I know they did me. As I have never read King Lear before I enjoyed not knowing how the story would play out and seeing all of the characters and their personalities for the first time. And I always enjoy seeing the stage the actors have to work on even if we are occasionally interrupted by ducks of the most obnoxious sort. The museum was interesting as well, especially since the tour guide of my group was particularly entertaining. I enjoyed the different variations of art that the museum represented from paintings, sculptures, temporary cardboard designs, and the glass exhibit. The restaurant seemed better this time around as well which made for a very enjoyable trip overall.
    Tell Jordan

  14. Our trip to Oklahoma City is something that is going to stay with me for a very long time. I love Shakespeare, and to have that chance to see it performed live along with all the studying we were doing in class really helped me understand it. The museum we went to beforehand was so beautiful. I especially enjoyed the different glass pieces. The way the light could create different effects by the way they were positioned and the way the glass was blown was so cool. I also have to admit that one of my favorite times was when we went to the restaurant and then got to play at the playground before the play. It was a great time for us all to relax and really get to know each other more (even if we were acting like little kids). I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust one of the spin rides again let alone try to race someone on it. Of course the performance of Lear itself is what really got my attention that day. I really liked the way that they portrayed the characters similar to some of the plays we had watched previously. I especially liked the way they acted out the scene where they blind Gloucester. Instead of making it a side act, they put a lot of emphasis on it and it really made a big impact on the play. They had several scenes that provided a lot of power struggle that really brought in the audience and I really enjoyed it. This is definitely something I would want to go back to next year (hint hint Dr. Benton :) ).