This summer, I went to Prague on a Global Field Studies Course to go to an International Theater Creative Design Festival. We got to see a couple of examples of costume, scenic, lighting, and prop design. I have never been out of the country before, but this summer, I took a global field study course through Eastern Connecticut State University where I am a theater major. The Prague Quadrennial (PQ) is a big international theater festival that happens every 4 years. It was really important for me to experience theater in a different way. Theatre in America is very different from how other countries think of theater. In America, theater is thought in a specific way and it is very limiting. Theater in other places think outside of the box. I went on this trip to be exposed to different ways of looking at theater and performing arts.
I don’t travel much and this trip was my first time on a plane, and I was nervous. My mom had scared me into thinking planes are death machines. But once I got past the TSA, it was so much easier than I had expected. I was overwhelmed by the boarding process, and my legs shook uncontrollably. I didn’t initially feel jet lagged when I arrived in Prague, but once I got back home I couldn’t shake the jet lag for about a week and a half. It was terrible! The apartments we were staying in were expecting us in Prague by 2 pm but we got there at 9 am. We had to drag our suitcases across the cobblestone. The time difference is a six-hour difference. It took a toll on our bodies when we got back home.
Stepping foot in Prague was a really strange experience, especially since I’ve never left the country before. The first thing that stuck out to me was the cobblestone streets. I have never seen real cobblestone. The culture shock was a jarring experience, but I had the time of my life. While we were at the PQ, we also had the opportunity to network with lots of people. This was important because it’s possible I could work with some of these designers when I perform in the future.
We also had the opportunity to go on outings to see different attractions and learn a lot about the history and the folk tales that originated in Prague. People in Czechia hold their folklore and legends closely to their hearts and it is an important aspect of their lives. So much so, that many in Prague believe these legends to be true. One prominent legend is the golem. Long story short the golem was made by a Rabbi to protect the Jewish quarter in Prague and help out with tasks. He starts causing a lot of chaos. That wasn’t the purpose for which he was made. The rabbi was supposed to deactivate him by pulling the shem out of his mouth (which is a clay tablet bearing the name of GOD into his mouth). He was supposed to remove it before the sabbath and he forgot, after that happened rabbi was reciting Psalms 92 in the synagogue and then he heard of the chaos the golem was creating. He confronted the golem and took the shem out of his mouth and he eventually deactivated him. I am not sure where the golem is to this day. The people of Czech believe that the rabbi is storing him in the attic of The Old New Synagogue.
I was able to make some close friends on this trip, and we are now planning to go back to Prague for the next PQ. If I never took the opportunity to go on this trip, I would have never found out that I like traveling or being on a plane. I hope you get the chance to go abroad or travel. If you’re interested in study abroad options at ECSU, contact Chris Drewery in the Global Field Studies Office. His Email is firstname.lastname@example.org and he can tell you everything you need to know about the program.