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Reacting Growing with You

November 22, 2022 9:36 AM | Anonymous

Lauren Unterberger
Reacting Consortium Student Employee
Barnard College

I started my Reacting adventures in a cramped bedroom during my freshman year at Barnard College. During the Covid semesters, all of my classes were online. So, each day I would grab extra sheets out of my closet for a makeshift chiton, draw on an eyebrow pencil beard in my Facetime camera, and transform from Lauren, the nervous freshman, to Meletus, the radical Thrasybulan Democrat of ancient Athens

The policies I desperately lobbied against in my aspirational Euripides propaganda passed. But that was supposed to happen. This was a vote that I could never mathematically win. 

Three years later, I’m a Junior at Barnard College, majoring in Medieval & Renaissance studies with a minor in Ancient Studies. I’m not surprised at all that my simulated time in Athens led me to my minor. During one class gathering of the Athenian assembly, I wrote and performed an original Greek tragedy using classical allusions to mirror the political injustices faced by Thrasybulan Democrats following the Peloponnesian War. I was already a theater kid, but this academic project presented me with the opportunity to dive into the world of classical drama, and to understand it as a means of political commentary and manipulation. I’ve been exploring the throughline of legal and political development in classical to Renaissance drama at Barnard ever since. 

I’ve donned my classical uniform a few more times since then, returning to the exact issue of the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War. For the last two summers, I’ve led a chorus of Barnard alums, aged 25 to 85, acting as members of the Athenian assembly at our Reunion Weekends. Each year, I know how the vote will end, and each year I’ve picked up a new argument for the losing battle. Whether it’s legal analysis on Euripides’ Libation Bearers from Professor Helen Foley’s Classical Mythology or a moral realization in performing Anne Carson’s An Oresteia in Professor Gisela Cardenas’ Acting II, there’s always something new to be brought to the conversation. The questions that Reacting games ask never have just one answer, nor the problems one solution. The process of reaching new (or old) historical conclusions grows with me, twisting and developing itself like a sentient maze to face each new argument and idea. It’s a phenomenon I find fascinating and endlessly exciting. 

My current role with the Reacting Consortium finds me wearing fewer fake beards. I’ve worked on all kinds of things for Reacting, including: the website, file management and upload, social media, user database exports, and more fun stuff like garnering resources to build a student-focused section of this lovely website. Reactor Central, as I’ve deemed this project, will serve as a guiding hub of experiential learning on how the Reacting game is played, and as an HQ to return to when you play it again with new questions & answers!

About the Author

Lauren Unterberger (she/her) is a junior at Barnard College, working towards a bachelor’s degree in Medieval & Renaissance Studies in 2024, with a specialization in legal and literary history. 

Blog Author Questionnaire

One word to describe faculty: Committed 

Two words to describe your school: Small & Big 

Three words to describe students: Driven, Collaborative, Innovative 

Four words to describe your favorite games: Political Intrigue, Argument, Alliance

Five words to describe Reacting: In and Out of Class!

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