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Ghost Bike

William Shakespeare will never be around to field questions from budding Carthage actors. Luckily for them, Laura Jacqmin is.

The award-winning playwright wrote Ghost Bike specifically for the students and has sat in on rehearsals to help refine their portrayal of the characters in the play. The play was staged in February 2012 in the Wartburg Auditorium.

“It’s been awesome to get the input of the actual writer,” said Kathiamarice Lopez, ’15, a theatre performance major from Kenosha who is among the lead actors in Ghost Bike.

She plays Ora, who refuses to let go of her best friend Eddie after he is hit and killed by a car while riding his bike. During a recent rehearsal, she and fellow actors Mitch Weindorf, Derek Nelson and Elodie Senetra practiced scenes in which Ora meets Eddie and his new friends in the underworld.

“He’s gone. He’s gone. Seeing him doesn’t change that,” Ms. Jacqmin explained to Kathiamarice, summing up the nuanced emotions her character feels at that moment. 

Because actors most often land roles in new plays early in their careers, the work onGhost Bike gives Carthage students a career boost, Ms. Jacqmin said. She’s been happy with the willingness of the actors to incorporate changes she or Prof. Herschel Kruger, the director and Theatre Department chair, have suggested.

“You have to be a really strong, really flexible actor to do that,” she said.

The play explores what happens after people die and how their surviving loved ones cope. Seeing numerous ghost bikes — memorials to bicyclists killed in car accidents — near her home in Chicago sparked the idea.

Ms. Jacqmin, who twice in recent years taught playwriting courses at Carthage, asked students to submit videos of themselves answering questions about death. Those responses formed the backbone of her play.

Some students made funny videos, while others choked up when describing their experiences, she said. The visual medium was chosen purposely.

“When you ask somebody to write, I don’t think it comes across in their voice,” Ms. Jacqmin said. “It feels like an assignment, as opposed to something more honest.”

A 2008 winner of the Wasserstein Prize for emerging female playwrights, Ms. Jacqmin has returned periodically to Carthage as part of the Theatre Department’s visiting artist program. Watching her script be translated to the stage has benefited her as a writer, too, notably allowing her to rewrite various segments of the play.

“Once I saw it, it didn’t actually work,” she said of one scene she had written. “You’re never going to know that unless you’re in the room.”

Ghost Bike doesn’t just test students’ flexibility as actors. Because much of the play takes place on bikes, it also tests their dexterity. The students joked they had to memorize their lines more quickly than usual because they couldn’t keep their hands on both a script and the handlebars.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2018), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …