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A legislator making a speech to his constituents is much like an actor reciting his lines to an audience-there is a temporary, willing suspension of disbelief and search for resolution in both arenas, according to Sandra Veresink ’02. She is pursuing honors in English and government and law through a senior thesis on political theater that connects the two disciplines.

“I am looking at how the government and other social movements can use theater to further their cause and get information out to the public,” says Veresink. “Theater is inherently a political function of society in that it depends on the public for participation and funding.

One of Veresink’s advisers is Michael O’Neill, director of theater, with whom she has worked for more than three years as an actress in College Theater. “Participating in Major Barbara by George Bernard Shaw last year gave me the idea to start some research in political theatre,” she says. “All of Shaw’s plays are rich in political themes and I felt that plays such as Major Barbara are under-appreciated in today’s society and by today’s audiences.”

Veresink’s other adviser is Jim Lennertz, associate professor of government and law. “I only met Professor Lennertz last year, but was very impressed with his passion for politics and soon learned that he has a passion for the arts as well,” she says. “I am very happy to be working with both of them.”

Veresink has studied abroad in Ireland and plans to take an interim course in Russia during January. Last spring, she interned with local PBS station WLVT, working on the production team of “Tempo.” President of both Cadence, a female a cappella group, and Played Out peer theater group, Veresink is alumnae relations coordinator for Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, secretary and treasurer of Panhellenic Council, and member of the Arts Society. She also served as assistant director and choreographer of a production of Fiddler on the Roof for Notre Dame High School in Bethlehem.

Categorized in: Academic News