Chuo’s ESS boasts a history of 110 years 中央大学英語学会 ―110年の歴史―


A play titled “Charlie Bartlett” was performed by members of Chuo University’s English Speaking Society (ESS) at the school’s Tama Campus on November 23, 2013. Many alumni, friends and family members, both young and old, filled a hall at C Square to watch their performance.




The play, a dramatization of the 2007 U.S. film with the same title, begins with a monologue by the main character, Charlie Bartlett, played by Katsutaka Imabayashi (first grader, Faculty of Commerce). Charlie is expelled from a private high school and starts attending a public school, where he gets bullied by his new classmates. However, when he gives away his prescribed psychotropic drugs to his friends, he becomes a darling in the school and starts counseling classmates in the boys’ bathroom. “Charlie Bartlett” is a campus comedy filled with laughter and tears.





  Although the play proceeded all in English, Japanese subtitles were put on a screen so that audiences who don’t understand English can enjoy it. It also contained some musical elements. At the end of the play, Akari Tostuka (first grader, Faculty of Letters) who played the role of heroine Susan sang a song a capella, followed by a chorus by all casts. The two-hour-long performance drew a lot of applause from the audiences when the curtain fell.




“I had to start from scratch,” said Haruka Kawaguchi (second grader, Faculty of Commerce), chief of the revived drama section of ESS, after the performance. She made her debut on the stage by acting as main character Brenda when ESS performed an English drama in May after a break of 45 years. None of the club members had drama experiences. They had no stage equipment. They had no seniors to reply on. Kawaguchi said she got utterly confused when she had to manage a play rather than act in it. “We had to do a lot of unfamiliar work, from allotting roles to taking care of the bills, all that we hadn’t experienced when we acted in the previous drama performance,” echoed Mai Furukawa (second grader, Faculty of Commerce) and Fumika Hayashi (second grader, Faculty of Letters) who led the play with Kawaguchi behind the scenes. They said they were happy to see the casts and backseat staffs in an accommodative mood. “What we kept in our mind most of all was to make their rehearsals as pleasant and enjoyable as possible,” they said.





  Chuo’s ESS, with more than 400 members, is one of the biggest circles in the school. Organized in 1903, it has just celebrated its 110th anniversary. Other than English plays, ESS members hold discussions with their counterparts from other universities, act as tour guides for foreign visitors at Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace and Asakusa, gather at the club room for English lessons when they are free between third and fifth periods, and communicate with exchange students to improve their English ability on a day-to-day basis. One member said, "Because ESS has a large membership, it gives me more opportunities not only to learn English but also get many acquaintances ranging from alumni to junior fellows. Above all, its biggest merit is that you can get a lot of friends who share an interest in global matters.





 “We provide opportunities to get exposed to English, learn it and use it. Do you have a place where you can use your English?” That’s the catchphrase touted by Okuto Suzuki (second grader, Faculty of Economics), who is the 111th president of ESS.





Written By : Ayako Shimatani