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Auburn Theatre and Dance questions sacrifice, love and the future through free staged reading of 'The Children'

Two beach chairs facing the ocean

Auburn University Theatre and Dance presents "The Children: A Staged Reading," running at the Telfair B. Peet Mainstage Theatre, March 28-30.

Lucy Kirkwood’s Tony Award-nominated play, "The Children," is set in coastal Britain during the aftermath of a catastrophic event at a local nuclear power plant. The production follows two nuclear physicists in an isolated cottage as they watch the world unravel around them. Originally inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, "The Children" invites audiences to consider the environmental legacy that previous generations bear to subsequent generations, posing the question: what do we owe our children?

Shelby Dupree, senior theatre major and student costume designer, hopes audiences experience the real-world themes displayed throughout the production.

"'The Children' poses some difficult questions and references some very current issues," said Dupree. "I feel like we so often think of theatre as needing to be a grandiose entertainment or an opportunity to escape from our lives for a while. This show isn't really that flavor of entertainment, and I think it offers some important food for thought."

Dupree served as the student costume designer through her senior project. While not as costume-intensive as a large musical production, Dupree was tasked with creatively representing each character through costume design. This involved significant research, pitches and searching the theatre department's expansive costume storage space.

"I feel the strong connection between character and costume is really highlighted. I also appreciate the challenge of encapsulating some of the complex moral nature of this show," said Dupree. "How do you represent a character's life, their choices, their mindset, their dilemma through their wardrobe? It's an aspect of costume design I find very rewarding."

Director Scott Phillips notes despite the existential themes of "The Children," the show does not focus on the implications of nuclear power as an energy source, but instead the human element of a dystopian world.

"At root, 'The Children' is about love, jealousy, microaggression and denial. It is both funny and horrifying, but also hopeful," said Phillips. "Confronted by the urgency of a moment that can no longer be deferred, denied or wished away, the characters find they do indeed have agency in the face of seemingly intractable problems."

"The Children" is free and open to the public. To reserve your seat and find more information about the show, visit the Theatre and Dance website.

Tags: Theatre and Dance Arts and Culture

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