Eric Conger ’68 has written a play loosely based on his experiences as a member of Eclectic in the 1960s, “The Eclectic Society,” which is being performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia until March 7. The play depicts Eclectic and Wesleyan when the student body was a lot more homogeneous. A Playbill article describes the plot:
“It is early November, 1963. On a University campus somewhere in New England, the members of The Eclectic Society are caught up in a whirlwind of social change. Sure, there are still Homecoming games to be won and pranks to be pulled on the incoming pledges, but things start to change with the arrival of Darrell Freeman (J. Alex Brinson). A scholarship winner from the ghettos of Cleveland, Darrell doesn’t exactly fit the mold of membership. In other words: he comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and he’s black. As the second African-American admitted to the Society (after three-sport athlete Floyd Wiggins, played by Carl Clemons-Hopkins), Darrell has his own hurdles to clear as he is welcomed by some with open arms…but not everyone…in the end, new friendships are formed and others destroyed as 125 years of ‘traditional thinking’ comes in direct conflict with a brave new world.”
Mr. Conger has been busy since the 1960s. He attended the University of Paris, translated Molière and Feydeau, appeared as Oliver in As You Like It at the Walnut Theatre in 1985, and has narrated over 80 audiobooks and done voice-over for commercials.
If you happen to be in Philadelphia, John Wilson ’69, the 1966 Eclectic flagman, invites Eclectic members and students for a cocktail party/reunion:
We’re hoping that we can assemble enough brothers and Wesleyan people on February 13th for a cocktail party and mini-reunion at a yet-to-be determined Philadelphia hotel. If you think you can make it, shoot me an email at john(at)dwitherbee.com and I’ll update you about where and when.
Playbill: Eclectic Society, World-Premiere Tale of a Campus Club in Changing Times, Opens in Philly
Walnut Street Theatre: The Eclectic Society
[Thanks to Mica Taliaferro ’11 for the tip.]