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SOAR Spotlight: Samantha Weinberg '18

Multiculturalism and Stereotype in the Twenty-first Century

Major: English Education and Theater
Hometown: Northbrook, IL
Advisor: Christopher Shorr

Briefly describe your project.

Professor Shorr and I are co-writing and producing a theatrical piece dealing with issues of identity and stereotype in the hopes of starting a larger conversation on campus and within the Bethlehem community.

Why did you decide to turn your idea into a SOAR project?

While Professor Shorr initially presented the idea of the SOAR project, we had both observed situations on campus that were pushing us to create a piece of this nature. We also both have a major interest in tackling these issues to begin with, so turning this into a SOAR project seemed like the natural next step.

How did your faculty advisor guide you through your research?

Writing a play is by no means a small task. Having Professor Shorr’s guidance and support throughout this process has been incredibly helpful, and without it this project would absolutely not have been completed in time. The best part of having him as a mentor would probably have to be all of the ridiculous scene concepts we’ve talked about for the show. Neither of us take ourselves too seriously, which is incredibly helpful during a long and difficult process like this.

What was your biggest obstacle?

Writer’s block has been without a doubt the biggest struggle during this process. There will be times where we have an idea for a scene, but have absolutely no idea how to go about writing it.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

While I’ve written scripts previously, none of them have ever been to this grand of a scale. I’ve been put in positions where I’ve had to ask for assistance, something I’ve never been particularly good at, personally. Overall, this project has helped me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, even if the process itself is difficult and puts me outside my comfort zone. 

What was the result of your project?

At the time of writing this, we’ve got an almost entirely complete script that successfully addresses the issues that we hoped to at the start of this. From here, we’ll be entering the design phase of the project, during which we design the set, costumes, and props for the show. We’ve also begun meeting with others who will have a hand in the final production of this piece.

Will you expand on your research after this summer is over? If so, where would you like to see it go?

We’re currently planning on expanding this project out well beyond the end of the SOAR program. We’ll be producing the written piece this fall semester prior to fall break, and hopefully, we’ll be able to carry the conversation that this play starts even beyond the end of the production.