Explore Bloomington: my experience with Cardinal Stage Company

This past month I have been forced to explore the town of Bloomington. I thought I had seen it all since I had been to College Mall and walked down Kirkwood (I only get as far as Chipotle). I have explored the Bloomington Square, gone apartment hunting and even made it to Whitehall Plaza. It’s weird to think that I've been living here for roughly three years, and I just started using the city buses. I realized that there is a whole other world out there that I think students miss out on simply because they are hesitant to venture out of the IU bubble. 

The reason why I thought I should write about exploring past campus was because of a show I recently saw. I am currently taking an intro to acting class, and our final assignment is to perform a monologue. The monologue that I choose happened to be from a play that the Cardinal Stage Company was showing this season. Our teacher always suggests that we read the play that our scene is from so that we can better understand the character we're portraying. I figured if I went to go see the play, I could understand my character within two hours (she did approve of this) rather block out time to read a 107 page play. I was hesitant to see another play because I have seen three on campus just this semester (for my class), and they have not been very enjoyable. I really didn’t want to waste two hours of my life trying to stay awake for a performance I wasn't very interested in, but, surprisingly that was not the case. 

The Brighton Beach Memoirs was shown at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, and their auditorium is extremely cool. I was in the second row, and literally at the foot of the stage. I was amazed by how close I was, and secretly hoping that no one sat in front of me because I’m not the tallest gal in the world.

I went to the play alone, which is something I don’t mind doing. Thanks to technology you can easily find a way to hide from what’s in front of you, and try to get connected to what’s not. However, my phone was on 30 percent and I had to decide how long I could actually play on my phone before it died. I chose to put it away and sit quietly instead. I ended up seated between two older women who decided to strike up a conversation with me. 

I learned that the one to my right was a season ticket holder, and normally attended all the shows that the Cardinal Stage put on. That night she had five friends with her, and she absolutely loved the theater. To my left was a women and her husband. The couple was originally from Texas, but have now been Bloomington residents for I believe 30 years. They moved from Texas when her husband found a job at the Jacobs School of Music, and when he retired they decided to stay. They had fallen in love with the town. I even asked about the weather; they laughed and told my they learned to deal with it.

This show was different than the others I had seen on IU's campus. For starters the cast was filled with people of all different ages. My favorite being Connor Starks, a Bloomington North High School student, who is definitely destined to win an Oscar one day. From stage direction to acting, the play was amazing. But what really made it an experience to remember was that I made some friends who laughed and talked with me during the show. I enjoyed the experience of sitting next to them. It was so nice not being surrounded by students, it honestly felt a little bit like the real world.

I get the same feeling when I take that one step past Chipotle on Kirkwood, you just meet the nicest people. So that's what I’m going to do, explore Bloomington, at least as much as I can next semester as I begin my last year of undergrad. I suggest you do too. Whether you’re currently in your last semester or thinking about joining the Hoosier family, make a promise to step outside the student bubble and meet some new people, eat some new food and just get to know the town you're living in. 



Courtesy of Cardinal Stage Company

Courtesy of Ivy Tech

About The Author
Sara Claire GaspardClass of 2016, Evanston, IL