October 18, 2006

Theater department to stage 'Copernicus Rising'

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's theater department, part of the College of Liberal Arts, next month will present "Copernicus Rising," a play written by Michael A. Rose, a graduate student in playwriting.

Susan Patrick Benson, assistant professor of theater, is the director of the show, which runs Wednesday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 12, in McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. for the Wednesday through Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for the Sunday show.

"Part memory and part dream, 'Copernicus Rising' follows famous astronomer Nicolas Copernicus as he journeys from his death-bed through space and time in order to understand the universe and what it is to be human," Rose said. "I think the play speaks to some very important ideas about who we are in the universe. Copernicus and his theories changed everything, not just science but philosophy. Suddenly, human beings were no longer the center of the universe, and the implications of that were huge."

A native of North Dakota, Rose began acting in plays in local community theaters and at school, which gave him a life-long appreciation of and passion for the arts. After he received a bachelor of arts in theater and English from Minot State University (2004), Rose entered the playwriting program at SIUC.

"SIUC has really made me stretch as an artist, and I've found myself working in genres and styles that were unfamiliar to me before I got here. My work has improved a lot, both due to my peers in the program and the guidance of Dr. Rush," Rose said, referring to David A. Rush, head of SIUC's playwriting program. Under Rush's direction, Rose said he has done his best work here and he plans to start his own theater company when he finishes his studies.

Ticket prices for "Copernicus Rising" are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for children and students. Box office hours are noon-5:30 p.m. weekdays and an hour before each performance. Tickets are also available over the phone at 618/453-3001. For more information, contact marketing coordinator Vincent Rhomberg at mcldpub@siu.edu or 618/453-7589.

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