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Students to Stage Play Written by Alumnus

Breakaway Student Productions presents Argos Burning, by Arthur Robinson ’17, Dec. 7 to 9 in the Black Box Studio Theater.

A culmination of Robinson’s vast work as an Ursinus student, the play is a welcome display of the dedication, creativity and craft of Robinson and students in the theater department.

Argos Burning started out as a Summer Fellows project focusing on an adaption of the Orestes myth and transformed into a more political and personal work for Robinson. Inspired by Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy and Dave Foley’s Murders at Argos, Robinson also felt inspired from his own life in order to add depth to the narrative.

However, the journey from page to stage is not an easy one. When up against writer’s block and feeling constricted by the modes of a traditional play, Robinson described how his adviser Domenick Scudera, a professor of theater, and a friend encouraged him to experiment and broaden the parameters of writing a play.

“My adviser encouraged me to branch out with more experimental techniques, and a friend told me to try writing honestly,” Robinson says. “Both of these things ended up helping me immensely, and the play became a more complex, semi-autobiographical piece despite it being an adaptation.”

Although playwriting can sometimes offer challenges, Robinson admires the rewards of working on such a personally impactful play.

“The process of creating a play is simultaneously empowering and humbling,” he notes. “You can weave a story that will hopefully connect and resonate with many people. Then you have no control over how the audience will actually react to what you’re trying to do, and that means you have to be prepared to make a lot of changes and look at your work critically. All in all it’s very rewarding to see something you create evolve from something small and simple to complex and huge.”

Breakaway, a student-run organization on campus, is an opportunity for students to write, perform and produce works with other students of various interests. Argos Burning is a student-driven project and Robinson notes the significance of having student-focused avenues like Breakaway on campus.

“Breakaway is an exceptional platform for student-driven works,” he says. “I truly hope people at Ursinus see the effort and care their peers are putting into creating shows like The Playground (written by Angela Bey ’19) or Argos Burning and feel inspired to create their own unique and exceptional works.”

Argos Burning is a well-awaited play featuring the vision of Robinson along with the other invaluable students working on the project. Robinson urged other students to submit their own works. During the spring semester, Breakaway Student Productions will perform a collection of one-act plays written by fellow students. To purchase tickets for Argos Burning, email bsp@ursinus.edu. —By Madison Bradley ’18