Marty Baron ’76 back on campus: Spotlight showing in Zoellner Arts Center

 

Back in February I had the opportunity to attend the showing of Spotlight at Lehigh’s Zoellner Arts Center. As many of you probably already know, this was a special showing at Lehigh because Marty Baron attended Lehigh for his undergraduate degree. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie or don’t know the story, Marty Baron ’76 was the first at the Boston Globe to push for the investigation of over 80 priests molesting boys in the Boston area. If it weren’t for him, this scandal may not have been uncovered. Shortly after we viewed the movie in Zoellner, Spotlight went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

 

Weeks before the Spotlight showing in Zoellner, I received many emails inquiring students to sign up to attend. Having not seen the movie but heard lots of buzz about it over Winter Break, I immediately signed myself and a friend up to attend. I was further intrigued when learning about how a main character portrayed in the movie went to Lehigh. Over the course of maybe 2 more weeks, I received a few more emails about the event, and started to hear more buzz about it on campus. I was actually surprised how much advertising there was about it, because generally I don’t find out about many events occurring in Zoellner. There were also many articles anticipating the event in local newspapers around Lehigh:

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People were dressed in varieties of attire, mainly casual clothes that they would also wear to class, but I could also tell some people were dressed ready to head out for a Thursday night of partying after the movie and discussion afterwards. My friends and I grabbed dinner at Tulum before the showing, which was a nice start to the evening.

Upon arriving at Zoellner for the showing, I was amazed how many people were already seated and looking eager to not only watch the movie, but also hear from Marty Baron during the Q&A session after the movie. As the theater continued to fill until every seat appeared full, I realized how awesome it was to see much of the Lehigh community come together to not only support a Lehigh alum, but also take time out of their Thursday night to watch a movie they otherwise could watch in a normal theater, or even find online. I hadn’t seen the theater that full since our freshman convocation in August of 2012.

I really enjoyed watching the movie because I felt it was a very well made film, but the Q&A session afterwards was my favorite part of the night. It was amazing to hear Marty Baron’s personal opinions on how he was feeling when he was investigating, as well as his thoughts on the movie and its huge success. It was great to see current Lehigh journalism majors look up to Marty so much because of his courage and strength to speak up about such a controversial subject. Overall, this was a great night with very productive conversations. I could tell everyone there was very engaged the entire time and really enjoyed being present with Marty Baron.

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“Gem of the Ocean” an Experiencial Review by Carolyn Koch

After realizing the deadline to my entrepreneurship project was rapidly approaching I “googled” the Zoellner Arts Center to see what was going on this week. I saw “Gem of the Ocean” fit nicely into my schedule on Wedneday night.

After I ate an early dinner at Lehigh’s Upper Court with my sister, I went to the library to get a couple extra minutes of work in before the performance.  While packing up in the library I tried to convince some of my friends to come with me to see “Gem of the Ocean” but to no avail. So I left the library by myself and headed off to Zoellner. The time was around 7:05pm as I was walked down Packer Ave at this strange time of day. I am familiar with Zoellner as a lot of my immediate friends participate in the arts, so I knew where to go when I got there. I made my way to the ticket window and got my ticket. It was the “pay what you will” performance but I felt guilty when the girl in front of me paid the student ticket price of $5 so I wound up doing the same thing.  After purchasing my ticket I headed over to the Diamond Theater.

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When I walked into the theater I had zero idea what to expect. I hadn’t done any research on the play and had no idea what it was about. Being one of the first few people there I found a seat, sat down and took it all in. I heard the sound of a rocking chair and eventually noticed the person sitting in the top right corner. I used to do stage design in high school so I was really in awe of the scene in front of me. I was even more impressed by how the actors used the space during the performance.

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As students, professors and people started filing into the theater it became very loud with an excitement of what was to come.

“Do you know what this is about?”

“Hey! I’m so glad you made it!”

“Which class are you here for?”

As conversations swirled around me, I felt a little awkward as I had come alone and was still sitting by myself at this point. By the time I spotted someone I knew the show was about to start and everyone was scrambling for a seat. The lights flickered, everyone got quite and the show began.

The first half of the show was great! There were moments where the theater was cringing from embarrassment and then in the next moment laughing at the characters on stage. I love performances for this reason in particular – you have the opportunity to experience with other people even if you go alone. Like I had mentioned before I had come alone and felt weird about it, but in these moments we were all together experiencing the same thing. I became more at ease. During intermission I had some conversations with people I had never met before and got to see how they interpreted what we all had just watched.

As people were getting the “unnaturally yellow” popcorn (the women who was selling it described it as such) I looked at my clock and realized I was going to be late for a meeting if I had stayed for the second half. I did not realize how long the show was, or how long it was going to be. I had checked the Zoellner website to check when it was starting but there was no run time anywhere to be found.  Feeling torn I had to leave.

My experience with the Arts on Lehigh’s campus has always been a matter of figuring out how to fit it into my schedule, being an engineering student and an athlete seeing performances was never my top priority unless my friends were in it. The funny thing was, I knew a lot more people in this performance than I thought.  I wish I could have seen the end of it, which is why I’ll be going back this weekend to see it again – this time knowing the full time commitment.