In praise of theatre and Dr. Stenger
As I admired the beauty and facilities of the Baker Theatre and the Trexler Pavilion as presented in the Spring 2000 Muhlenberg, I couldn't help think how much Andy Erskine would have loved to have the chance to work in such a setting. While he would have enjoyed the more gifted actors Muhlenberg now attracts, I doubt he could find more appreciative students than those of us whom he introduced to theatre in his English and World Drama courses and through the Mask and Dagger. In those "pre co-ed" days, we had to recruit women to act with us, and I recruited a talented young woman from Allentown, then Peggy Smith, to play Gwendolyn in "Earnest." Neither of us knew we were starting a 48-year partnership. After playing two gangsters at Muhlenberg, I retired short of Hari Kari, while Peggy is a regular lead at the Venice (Fla.) Little Theatre and recently performed her own one-woman show, "Mary Hemingway," for the Sarasota Library's 100th Anniversary Hemingway Festival.
The same issue of Muhlenberg brought the sad news of the deaths of Professor and Mrs. Stenger. Dr. Stenger's wonderful Shakespeare course was so well respected that physics majors and pre-med students would fit it into their heavy schedules. Erskine was "Andy" to many students, but Dr. Stenger was only "Prince Hal" out of his hearing. Both men demonstrated Muhlenberg's current core values, compassion and caring, as well as a commitment to excellence.
May the new buildings be filled with the same spirit.