Gathering on a cold and rainy day on the Boston Common, a group of Emerson College Performing Arts students brought some much–needed life and activity to the park on an otherwise dreary day. In recognition of Constitution Day, 17 first-semester freshmen lined the steps of the Boston Common Parkman Bandstand and took turns performing and reading the articles and sections from the U.S. Constitution.
Reading more like a play than an official government document, the students from Professor Craig Mathers’ theater class read the entire Constitution for Emerson faculty, students, and onlookers over the course of 40 minutes.
“One of the things the Constitution asks for is good citizenship,” explains Mathers. “I think the way these students honored our Constitution is a good way to instill citizenship and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
“One of the things the Constitution asks for is good citizenship. I think the way these students honored our Constitution is a good way to instill citizenship and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
In Massachusetts, a federal law enacted in December 2004 designates September 17 as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. Under this law, every school that receives federal funding for the fiscal year is required to hold an education program for students designed around the Constitution.
In keeping with Emerson’s commitment to communication and the arts, this unique public performance of the Constitution has become an annual tradition since Mathers devised it three years ago. Melia Bensussen, Chair of the Performing Arts Department, coordinates the annual event.
“When we started doing this three years ago, I thought it was such a moving and creative way to celebrate and acknowledge Constitution Day,” says Bensussen. “It really allows our Emerson students to perfect their performance techniques and public speaking skills. I am so proud of the students who participated this year.”