Students take to the stage for final French Theater assignment

UM-Dearborn French 334: Workshop in French TheaterIt’s not your typical assignment.

Then again, it’s not your typical course.

That’s the idea behind French 334: Workshop in French Theater.

Gabriella Eschrich has taught the course at University of Michigan-Dearborn for 14 years, and with each semester comes a similar assignment.

Students are assigned a French play, then are asked to edit the play, select a role, prepare costumes and recreate the performance at the end of the semester.

“We work on these plays all semester, so it’s nice to see all of the students’ hard work pay off,” said Eschrich, director of French studies and chair of the Language, Culture, and Communication Department. “The students did a fantastic job at editing, learning their roles and performing, all in French, of course.”

Some students performed Phèdre, a 17th-century dramatic tragedy written by Jean Racine. Others recreated Antigone, a tragedy inspired by Greek mythology and written by Jean Anouilh.

Nadine Zebib played roles in both plays, as she served as the narrator. Zebib, a senior who plans to graduate this April with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and French, was inspired to study the language after a couple trips to Europe.

“I went to France in high school because I was obsessed with the culture, the language and the people,” Zebib said. “I wanted to continue that through college because it’s something I’m really passionate about.”

Zebib was excited to see her classmates’ gradual progression, from the time students were assigned a play to the time they performed at the campus’ Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems building.

“We got to know these plays like the back of our hands,” she said. “I thought it was an excellent final because it was the best way to judge how well we knew the language.”

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