We can learn from the past in many ways. Sometimes we learn for academic purposes, and then there are times we learn for private reasons that only we may know.
UVU Department of Theatrical Arts performed the classical play “Cato, A Tragedy” in the courtyard Sept. 12-15. According to President Holland, he chose this play to help freshmen prepare for new perspectives and ideas that university life can bring.
Written in 1712 by Joseph Addison, “Cato” has encouraged many people throughout history, including George Washington, to think about and appreciate their private decisions. Holland said he could see why the Washington used this particular play to motivate troops, which is why Holland wanted to share it with freshman and all students.
“This is a time in life when new students are moving out on their own, stepping outside their comfort zones, and questioning themselves about their values, what they are really devoted to,” Holland said.
Commenting on opening night, Holland gave praise to the cast and crew.
“It was very entertaining,” Holland said. “It’s tricky to use something written for a society hundreds of years ago and direct it to a more contemporary audience. I felt the message really came through.”
According to stage manager Lucinda Ward, there are a lot of relevant issues in this play for students to think about.
“’Cato’ prompts students to think about important issues, like the implications of wars and their justifications,” Ward said.
Ward commented that the best part of the production was how well the cast worked together and portrayed each part.
“The cast was really great,” Ward said. “They took the classical verbiage and performed it in a way so that modern audiences could understand and appreciate it.”
Brian Kocherhans, a junior in theater, played a major role in “Cato.” It was his first large role in any production, and he harbored some fears about how things would work between all of the cast members.
“I was skeptical when I first approached this, but as I saw things beginning to pull together, I was filled with confidence,” Kocherhans said.
Annie Darling, a sophomore in Biology, said she appreciated the contrast between reading the play and the spin the cast added when performing.
“When I read the play, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t understand it as much as when I had the opportunity to watch the actors,” Darling said.
For three centuries now, “Cato” has been effectively encouraging both audiences and actors into better understanding how the private choices we make can affect those around us.