Camus course brings experts on French author
March 24, 2014
MacMurray College’s production of Albert Camus’ play The Misunderstanding, is the culmination of a semester of study of the French writer, philosopher and critic that has brought Camus experts to the MacMurray campus in person and over the Internet.
The readers-theater production of Camus’ play The Misunderstanding will be Friday April 4 and Saturday April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Marian Chase Schaeffer Studio Theatre, on the second floor, south end of Jenkins Education Complex, located on Hardin Avenue on the MacMurray campus. The play is free and open to the public.
The Misunderstanding is part of a semester long course studying Camus, taught by Eric Berg, associate professor of philosophy and religion at MacMurray. During the semester, Dr. Berg, who has presented several papers to the Albert Camus Society in London and has published several papers on Camus, has brought four experts to augment the course, three over the Internet and one in person. They are:
- George Heffernan, professor of philosophy at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, and the author of numerous articles about Camus;
- Peter Francev, president of the Albert Camus Society U.S. and editor of the Journal of Camus Studies;
- Simon Lea, who founded the Albert Camus Society and is the president of the United Kingdom group. He has consulted for a London production of the Camus play, is the author of Camus Study Guide to The Stranger (March 2014) and is working on a Beginners Guide to Albert Camus as part of a series of Beginners Guides produced by a U.K. publisher.
During the semester, each Camus expert wrote an essay on Camus targeted at the students in the course. Dr. Berg posted the essays and offered observations on them. The students then responded to each essay with voluminous comments and questions. Dr. Berg forwarded the students’ comments to the authors, and they responded to the students.
“The exchange of ideas and criticism between all five faculty and the MacMurray students has been a powerful learning experience for all,” said Dr. Berg.
- Medical historian Mark A. Largent arrives at MacMurray the week before the play to augment class instruction. Dr. Largent, an associate professor of social relations and policy at Michigan State University, is an expert on vaccines and culture.
Camus had tuberculosis, but was too old to take advantage of TB vaccines, and the missed opportunity haunted him. TB occurs in many of his short stories, and vaccine issues occupy a central position in Camus’ novel, The Plague.
Dr. Largent will also be the final presenter of the 2013-14 MacMurray Speakers Series that week, when he will talk about “The Vaccine Debate in Modern America.” His talk is 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 2 at the Thoresen Recital Hall in the Putnam/Springer Center on the MacMurray campus.
Pictured: Nancy Sullivan, director of Information Technology at MacMurray, in the role of Martha, the daughter, in The Misunderstanding.