By Sofia Carbonell Realme
Like I do with most places that are not quite places, but rather exist as a form of transition in a spacial in-between, I had only ever mindlessly passed through the lobby at the Hop. It wasn’t until I caught sight of the two commemorative plaques that face each other on the columns flanking the entrance to The Moore Theater that I stopped to consider the place I was standing in—the place I am now sitting in, as I write on the brown and blue couch across from the theater’s teal double doors. Both the renovation of this theater and the lobby were gifts Florence B. Moore gave to the Hopkins Center, the plaques indicate. There’s a story here. There’s more to this space that so often goes unnoticed.
Very little is known about the story behind the donation. It was part of a $20 million gift Mrs. Moore left Dartmouth College in memory of her deceased husband who, oddly, attended the College for only three months.* The Moores were very active in the Class of 1937s’ reunions and outings. Likely, these situations were where they cultivated their fondness for the school and its community. They were so closely involved, in fact, that several ‘37s were convinced Lansing Moore had gone to Dartmouth for all four years of his undergraduate career.
The opaqueness in this story adds a layer of mystery to the already unusual lobby. There’s nothing particularly strange about the faded gray and white checkered floor or in the “U” couch nestled in between two staircases, but the curving teal-framed glass that is the outside of The Moore Theater seems like a trick shaped as an unusual construction: transparent and covered, conspicuous and obscured. Screens and posters on the glass flash with advertisements of the shows to come and snapshots of productions from the past. Music evocative of a magic show plays in a loop in between clips featuring chants and dialogue. People walk by, sometimes silently, other times in bursts of chatter. A golden sign that reads “THE MOORE THEATER” glows under the amber bulbs in oval shapes cut out in the ceiling. The teasing, transparent walls of the theater stand as a backdrop, unnoticed, much like the story behind its name.
* Recht, Mike. “Man Attends Dartmouth 3 Months; Wife’s Estate Leaves School $18 Million.” AP News Archive, 15 Oct. 1996. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.
I’m a ’20 from Mexico City and (as of now) a future English and maybe history major. Currently, I’m an Arts Ambassador and a LASA member. My interests include dance, creative writing and theater. I have a growing fascination with the history of Dartmouth.