Blast from the Past

From left, Christa Fornella, Kara Beck and Darby McMullen perform a radio drama live on WNJR for an Intersession course.

Yesterday’s trends focus of popular Intersession courses
Revisiting an era of radio dramas, rotary-dial telephones and black-and-white television screens, three Intersession courses at Washington & Jefferson College are paying tribute to past trends and their influence on today’s culture.
In “Radio Drama,” students are given the opportunity to produce a series of scripted plays that are broadcast live on WNJR. From performing the classic “Sorry, Wrong Number,” a popular radio drama from 1943, to the original “Sidekicks,” a contemporary high-school drama written by Jessica Zack ’14, students function in the roles of actor, writer and producer for a weekly radio program.
“Drama, regardless of the media—theatre, film, television or radio—is the most prevalent form of storytelling that exists in our contemporary culture,” Bill Cameron, professor of communication and theater, said. “Understanding how drama works and having the opportunity to participate in its creation should, I feel, be part of every student’s liberal arts education.”
In a course on “The Twilight Zone,” students are invited to travel through another dimension to watch thought-provoking episodes of this popular 1960s television series. Andrew Rembert, adjunct professor of philosophy, prompts students to discuss the show’s themes of time travel, what it means to be human, eternal life and fear of the unknown.
Students flock to sign up for the course, prompting Rembert to set aside a few slots for first-year students to give everyone an opportunity to enroll. “I think students take this course because it seems different from the usual grind of learning facts and well-established theories,” he said. “‘The Twilight Zone’ is realistic fantasy.”
“Today’s students are eager to find wisdom and strength in the era to use as their own."
-Steven Mason, Adjunct Professor, English

Taking a historical perspective on the era is Steven Mason, adjunct professor of English, who teaches “The Sixties.” In this year’s most popular Intersession course, Mason examines hot issues of the decade, including civil rights, free speech, war and peace and women’s liberation.
“Today’s students are eager to find wisdom and strength in the era to use as their own,” he said. “The history of the ’60s is not dead. We have inherited it.”
 – Robert Reid
Students watch an episode of “The Twilight Zone” in a course on the series.