ESSI AUGUSTE VIRTANEN | Editor-in-Chief
An alumna, Rebecca Lara, used to actively act and direct for the Lindenwood stage as a theater student, and now she is back as an adjunct professor — teaching the same class she took during her undergraduate degree.
Lara joined the faculty this fall and teaches a class called Survey of Dramatic Literature in which students study plays from the ancient Greek theater to contemporary plays. The class is the same one she took here during her time as a theater and speech education student.
“I remember it being one of my favorite classes here when I was an undergrad,” Lara said. “The interesting thing being, of course that while it was one of my favorites, it was some people’s least favorite. It was going to be challenging, but I’m loving it so far.”
“Rebecca can make the densest and most challenging material seem like a breezy conversation with a friend over your favorite drink from Starbucks.”
After completing her undergraduate degree in 2010, Lara stayed at Lindenwood to do her graduate degree in theater as well. She then moved to Chicago in 2012 after completing her graduate degree and worked in the corporate world and still currently works in conflict resolution aside from teaching.
The chair of the theater department, Emily Jones, was the one who asked Lara to teach the class, and she said Lara is an “incredibly strong teacher with a heart of gold.”
“She is all about developing relationships and finding the most effective way of connecting with her students,” Jones said. “Rebecca can make the densest and most challenging material seem like a breezy conversation with a friend over your favorite drink from Starbucks.”
Her student Duncan Phillips agreed.
“I think because she graduated from here not that long ago that she is very familiar with the way in which we understand these different plays that it helps her condense them and break them down,” he said.
“Me as a educator, I want every class to make people think, make people learn, but make them also think like who am I as a person?”
Lara said her secret for students to understand is just simply to start from general and then get to specifics but also relate it all to the students’ own lives. For student reflections, Lara has the students do journaling after every class.
“Me as a educator, I want every class to make people think, make people learn, but make them also think like who am I as a person?” Lara said. “What do I stand for? How do I view the world? So I feel like journaling is the perfect combination of getting all of the writing. You write and write and write every class, but you also are holding that mirror up to you and how you think and how your brain works and how you feel about the world and literature and all of it.”
Ultimately, Lara hopes the students will enjoy the class going through the evolution of theater as an art form and take “the moral lessons” of the “literary vehicles” and use them in their daily lives.