CWU theatre community unites to shine a light on inauguration
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Not long after darkness fell over campus on the eve of the inauguration, more than 50 Ellensburg community members and CWU theater students peacefully gathered on the front steps of McConnell Hall.
With less than a day to prepare, students, faculty and Ellensburg community members set the stage for the “Ghostlight Project,” a nationwide movement that took place at 5:30 p.m. across various time zones.
“The Ghostlight Project is a moment of solidarity for artists,” said Eddy Mineishi, a senior in the theater department. “We are standing against the hatred and bad vibes from the president-elect, Donald Trump.”
The name of the project originated from the theatrical term used to describe a single light that remains on stage when it would otherwise remain dark and unoccupied.
Huddled behind jackets and scarves, participants’ flashlights and phone screens filled the darkness on CWU’s campus as a human representation of the ghost light tradition.
“It is really supposed to be showing our light to the world,” said Terri Brown, professor of musical theater.
Soon the group took a moment of reflection before moving to the courtyard behind Barge Hall where the lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine” filled the cooling air.
Theater students Jeff Rowden and Erin Cocker led the group musically as individuals stood side-by-side clutching the lyrics on the back of a flier given to them earlier in the evening.
The event wasn’t the only one of its kind in Washington state.
According to the project’s website, over 23 theaters in the state participated, including the theater and drama departments of the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University and Bellevue College.
A traditional ghost light was also set up in the McConnell Tower and overlooks the adjacent courtyard. According to organizers, it is set to stay and continue to shine as a “reminder as we forge ahead” during the presumably challenging times expected to arise after Trump takes up residence in the White House.
Organizers said that the light will remain in the lobby of the tower for as long as necessary.
“It’s not something new,” said Patrick Dizney, a CWU theater director and professor. “It just felt like a really nice kind of time for a reaffirmation of the values that I believe theatre is all about.”