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Senior Inquiry culminates in show 'The Scene'

May  10, 2016

Augustana student Michael J. Currie will direct "The Scene" as part of his Theatre Arts Senior Inquiry project May 13-15.

"The Scene," by Theresa Rebeck, is a story of infidelity set in Manhattan, where a middle-aged and out-of-work actor is led into an extramarital affair with a young social climber. (The performance contains strong language, alcohol consumption and on-stage sexual activity.)

The play features a cast of four Augustana students; Keenan Odenkirk, Emily Mason, Josh Pride and Rowan Crow. Student Emma Brutman is the technical director and Joe Oliger serves as the light/sound board operator. Dr. Jennifer Popple serves as the faculty advisor for the production and the Senior Inquiry project.

Currie, a theatre arts and computer science major from Aurora, Ill., selected the play during the initial planning phase of the production in winter term.

"The Scene has a very familiar plot-line, and you won't ever be shocked by any surprise twist at the end. But there are so many unique things to pull out from the script. All of the characters are fun and individual and have golden moments of interactions with each other," he said.

"There is so much humor everywhere, despite it having such a dark plotline, and finding that balance of comedy and drama has been an intense, but hopefully rewarding challenge. With such a small cast, and such intimate themes, such as infidelity and sexual desire, I wanted to set up the Blackbox Theatre to reflect that intimacy. The plot of this show progresses at almost break-neck speed, and I set up the space to accommodate that as well, so expect to see a transformed theatre space when you arrive.

"One thing I love about this show is that I think everyone will come away with different opinions on each character. I don't intend to condemn any one character's actions, despite the questionable actions that each of them performs. I want to present a realistic series of action, with realistic performances that mirror the desires and behaviors of real people. And then you can form your own opinion based off what you see."

Performances will be presented in the Black Box Theatre, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts. Shows will be at 7 p.m.  May 13-14 and 1:30 p.m. May 15.

The show runs about 110 minutes and includes an intermission.

Tickets are free but seating is limited. Tickets can be reserved through the Augustana Theatre Office, 309-794-7611, or by emailing for a reservation.

On May 18, Currie will talk about his project, what he learned and how the experience served as a capstone for his degree in theatre arts. That talk will take place at 4 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre.