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Erica Terpening-Romeo

August 29, 2013

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From: Boulder, Colorado

Exploring: English and political science

Opening scene: I came to Lewis & Clark after an early career in theatre in New York. As a way to meet people in my first semester, I auditioned for a part in Romeo and Juliet—and got cast as Juliet. That really worried me: Would everyone resent this new person getting the lead? That’s when I got my first taste of the Lewis & Clark attitude. People were so kind and welcoming, and honestly interested in getting to know me.

The play’s the thing: One person I got to know through that play was Assistant Professor Jerry Harp, who played Friar Lawrence. He was writing about his perspectives on the play, and he invited me to be one of his research assistants. Our book looks at the play not as a portrayal of idealized love, but as a critique of it. We’ve collaborated so well that he has made me his coauthor. I don’t think that happens very often for undergraduates, or even for graduate students.

How fares Juliet: The first friend I made in that first play is now my partner in an alternative theatre company, Anon it Moves. We’re committed to nontraditional interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays. My company and my work with Jerry continue to inform each other. At Lewis & Clark, I’ve finally been able to figure out how to make my theatre experience my own.