Developing Character

Developing Character: Saint Mary’s presents “The Fighting Jardiniers”


Maria Chipman '11 works with playwright
Bill Lawrence.
When Maria Chipman ’11 took the stage in the Little Theatre on Tuesday night, she stood above the rest—literally. Chipman, who played yoga instructor Ronnie in the play, “The Fighting Jardiniers,” performed a monologue of sorts. Alone on stage, she conversed with a fictional yoga class in front of the audience. “At first, I absolutely refused to do it,” admits Chipman, smiling. “I have no theatre experience. But I am a dancer. So I’m not a stranger to the stage.”

"The Fighting Jardiniers," written by Bill Lawrence, who also acted in this week's production, examines Father Basil Anthony Moreau’s vision of education. This is illustrated through scenes that take place in a fictional Indiana high school. The school's mascot is a fighting French gardener, who comes to life to tell of his experiences as Father Moreau’s gardener.The play was performed Tuesday in celebration of Father Moreau’s feast day.

Work and Play

Chipman, a communication studies major, is working toward business and advertising minors. She says that busy students like her could sympathize with the character she played. “Ronnie is a fireball,” Chipman explains. “But I like that she has ‘a thing,’—yoga—a passion through which she can channel that energy. I think people need ‘a thing,’ especially students, people who work hard.”

Along with the play, Chipman’s studies at Saint Mary’s illustrate one of Moreau’s visions for education: “the mind will not be educated at the expense of the heart.” In her advertising courses, Chipman says her professors emphasize character as well as success. “Sometimes advertisers get a bad rap for being manipulative. I think I would be a good voice because of my experiences at Saint Mary’s.” Chipman adds, “Lots of colleges teach success. Saint Mary’s teaches success and character.”