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Unlocking the World

Left to right: Professor Lance Marsh with students Joy Stachmus and Ariana Sofia.

By Brooklyn Brumley, Mass Communications freshman

Last summer, theatre junior Joy Stachmus found herself in Florence, Italy—an art capital of the world—with free admission to see some of humanity’s all-time most famous and influential works of art.

Michelangelo’s "David," Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" … the list goes on and on.

It was Italy’s Independence Day and museum admission was free throughout the city.

“I got to see some famous pieces of art for free, and it was insane,” she said. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

Stachmus traveled to Italy with 12 other acting majors and theatre professor Lance Marsh.

They studied the setting of “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare for about six weeks. The experience helped students grow and learn more about their craft by seeing the places Shakespeare wrote about and growing closer to their castmates.

Compared to teaching craft, “a harder thing to do is to teach them to be artists,” Marsh said. “The artist that you are is really an amalgamation of all the experiences that you have in your life. So they were literally walking through the streets of Rome, looking at ancient artifacts, talking about the historical impact of it, and then walking over to the rehearsal hall and realizing, ‘Oh, we just talked about that,’” Marsh said.

Study Abroad Nova 2
OCU students from the cast of “Julius Caesar” 
visit the original senate house in the Roman 
Forum on one of the first days the space had 
been open to the public in decades.
Photos provided by Stachmus.

Stachmus had typical touristy experiences and also saw what day-to-day life was like in Rome from her home base in a small neighborhood.

“It was nice to not be in the heart of Rome because it was just beautiful to see real people living real life,” Stachmus said.

She worked three jobs last spring to save for the trip, and she received a small theatre scholarship, which she said was “very nice and very, very helpful.”

Likewise, theatre major Corban Melder has been pleased to discover how eager OCU has been to help him achieve his study abroad goals, both financially and academically.

Stachmus found the trip to Rome to be “truly such a unique experience that teaches you so many things that are specialized for your major.”

For Melder, the trip completely changed his academic plans.

“I want to go back,” he said. “I want to live in Italy now.”

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