Release Date: March 21, 2002
Eleven Monmouth College students and faculty went to Berlin, Germany for spring break, where they had the unique opportunity to view a play that had just been performed on campus the month before.
trip was organized by Doug Rankin, an associate professor in the
theater department, and Mathias Betyna for the theater students who
were in the February production of Bertolt Brecht’s “A Respectable
While in Berlin, the group saw the same play performed at the Berliner Ensemble, the theater organized by Brecht. Betyna was to have directed the play at Monmouth, but when he encountered difficulties in obtaining a visa (since 9-11, everything has become harder and slower), theater department lecturer Don Elwell jumped into the gap at the last minute. Betyna met the group in Berlin and took the group to sites associated with Brecht.
Three of the students on the trip - Tom Hill, a sophomore from Chicago; Phil Johnson, a freshman from Crystal Lake; and Vicki Kunz, a senior from Lake in the Hills - were involved in the play. Another, David Ehrenhart, a freshman from Springfield, had studied German.
“It was a long trip, but once we got there, it was worth every minute,” said Kunz.
Ehrenhart agreed, saying, “The trip gave me a chance to be immersed in the culture of another country and also held special importance to me because of my German ancestry. To have seen a city so full of history and yet so geared toward the future is something that I will never forget. I would recommend that anyone take any chance available to them to travel abroad because I believe that the experience shows how different countries deal with the scars of the past as they prepare for the unknown future.”
History professor Bill Urban, who knows Berlin well from his annual visits, brought a somewhat wider focus to the group activities, especially museum visits, dining and travel. Other participants were chemistry professor Dick Kieft, art lecturer Carla Markwart, theater professor Bill Wallace and his wife, Sandy, and Marilyn Kloeppel.