Communication and Theatre

Students take on the new Karen Hille Phillips Center Mainstage

APO Production, “In the Garden of Live Flowers” opens March 7

In the Garden of Live Flowers: A Fantasia of the Life and Work of Rachel Carson, by Attilio Favorini and Lynne Conner, opens March 7 in the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Eastvold Auditorium. The production will run March 6*, 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30pm and March 16 at 2pm. 

In the GardenProduced by our national theatre honor society, Alpha Psi Omega, the production is entirely student run and led under the direction of Ali Rose Schultz ’14. More than 30 students are involved onstage and off. As director, Schultz is responsible for selecting and assembling designers and actors, running the rehearsal process, and assisting the design process. 

Schultz chose this production for several reasons: the multifaceted and relatable content, her passion for theatre that inspires social change, and her captivation of the whim in classic fairytales. She knew little of Rachel Carson before encountering the play, but found her story compelling, universal, and an invaluable piece of history.

The play follows Rachel Carson during the research and writing of her book Silent Spring, which is credited with launching America’s environmental movement. As she struggles to complete her book, she fights her progressing cancer and factions of American enterprise that launch a crusade against her reputation. Carson's solace is found in the fictive Alice in Wonderland. Carson’s journey converges with a fantastical landscape enlivened by literary, film and cultural references that theatricalize the revolutionary science of Silent Spring.

“As an artist and storyteller I am fascinated by the human need to escape reality through fairytales and familiar stories. Time and time again, individuals walk the yellow brick road, fly towards the second star to the right, push through the looking glass, and fall down the rabbit hole,” Schultz explains. “Traversing through the realms of the imagination gives us escape from the harsh realities of our own plight. There is potential to draw comfort in familiar characters, lands, and storylines. Fairytales also allow us to emerge from fantasy with newfound perspective and vigor. Stories inspire us to be braver, wiser, and truer in our everyday lives.”

The play is accessible to many people. At the heart, is a human woman, with human fears concerning death. There is universality to Carson’s plight that all members of the audience will be able to relate to and understand.

“I can think of no better place to present this story than a university. A place where young adults are on the precipice of making their contribution to the world—on the verge of becoming realized doctors, musicians, theologians, coaches, scientists, scholars, activists, rebels, authors, teachers, storytellers, and dreamers,” Schultz says. “Carson dedicated her entire life to educate, express, and defend what she loved most. Whatever your age, career, fears, obstacles, or ambitions may be, I would like to challenge audience members to approach work with the vigor, dedication, and passion that Carson displayed in her lifetime.”

Tickets are available at the door, at the Campus Concierge in the Anderson University Center and at 253-535-7411. Tickets are $5 with PLU ID and $8 General Admission. *March 6 is a student preview – admission is free with valid student ID.