Making the Classics Relevant

By Abbey Russell

This past Thursday, a group of Colorado College Classics enthusiasts, including myself, went on the first Classics department cultural outing of the year: a trip to the Colorado Springs Ensemble Theatre to see “By the Bog of Cats.” In this play, Irish playwright Marina Carr cleverly transports the Ancient Greek myth, “Medea,” to the modern-day Irish midlands. Further, the SET Theatre decided to uniquely stage this show as a Theatre in the Round, a theatre in which the audience surrounds the stage. 

Clayton Schroer, the new Classics Department Cultural Program Coordinator (CPC) planned the event. For him, the purpose of such outings is to encourage participation and excitement surrounding the Classics department.

“There are really so many elements of the classical world which impact our daily lives … It’s in a lot of the languages we speak, the art and media we are audience to, the rhetoric we hear,” Schroer said. “I think it’s my job to take the student enthusiasm that is already there and amplify it.”

So far, Schroer seems to be achieving this goal. 

“Thursday night’s play was really cool!” said Bryn Aprill ’23.  

After Thursday night, she said that she “definitely wants to go on more classics outings,” and is even considering a Classics major.  

Unlike CPCs for other departments such as Spanish or other languages, the Classics department does not have a particular language house or club. Drawing from his past experience, Schroer noted that there was an established Classics club at the three previous colleges he worked at before coming to CC, all of which offered fun opportunities for students to engage in the Classics. But, he said, such things really depend on a “core group of engaged students who make it happen.”

Based on Thursday night’s laughter-filled outing, however, I think it’s safe to say that the Classics department does, in fact, have what it takes to make this possible. The Classics aren’t the ancient art they’re commonly thought to be, as students who went on the Cultural Outing noted. It’s just a matter of getting the ball rolling. 

“I want students to know that the classics are fun and engaging here at CC,” Schroer said. “I also want them to know that the classical world — and especially our department — is for them; too often Latin and Greek get pigeonholed into these languages only philosophers, poets, and old whitebeards use.” 

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