Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on November 18 and 19, Clarke University Theatre will proudly present, “Reconstructed: A Theatrical Celebration of the Tenth Muse Literary Magazine” in Terence Donaghoe Hall.
Clarke’s Theatre Director in Residence Colin Muenster ’08 said the production is a collaborative effort from across academic areas of campus. Students in Tenth Muse classes led by Assistant Professor of English Steve Bellomy and Associate Professor of Art + Design Eric Wold reviewed previous editions of the Tenth Muse literary magazine and selected works that spoke to themes including reconstruction, identity, and progress.
Then, with a team of students, staff, faculty, and alumni, Muenster began shaping nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and other works to fit a theatrical interpretation.
“We’re celebrating the work and honoring it, but also arranging it in interesting ways. For example, we have two poems that share similar thematic ideas. We’ll perform them in a way that it seems the actors are having a conversation with each other,” Muenster said. “With a traditional play, all the pieces are there. This production is a little like building an airplane mid-air, but it’s exciting and interesting creative work.”
The production has also received the enthusiastic support of Katie Fischer ’73, a Clarke professor emerita of creative writing whose endowment supports the Tenth Muse publication. She also has a personal connection to Muenster.
“She was my creative writing professor, and she is also my mother-in-law, so it’s been really fun to share updates with her as this production develops,” Muenster said.
Fitting with the theme of reconstruction, the set design has also focused heavily on repurposing existing materials. Abandoned windows will become projector screens and broken doors function as frames and backdrops. Muenster said that the cast and crew continue to make discoveries with each rehearsal, further fueling the creative process.
Area high school students interested in theatre can also schedule a special Behind the Scenes Visit in coordination with the production, enabling them to tour campus, meet the cast and crew, and discover what an education in the arts at Clarke could be like for them.
“For me, watching people work and bringing it all together is a powerful experience. In the arts, you can start with words on a page and that can grow into “Phantom of the Opera” or “Hamilton.” To see that come together is very inspiring,” Muenster said.
With this production, I hope the audience walks away more aware of how we all can find creativity anywhere. Even if you feel it is waning or it seems hard to bring good into the world right now, we are still doing that at Clarke. That creative spirit is still very much alive.
Tickets are free for Clarke students and employees with a Clarke ID and $5 General Admission tickets will be available at the door. More information on the Behind the Scenes event can be found at clarke.edu/visit.