Partnering a student absorbed in mythology with another who is more in tune with documentary theater could have spurred a creative crisis, but instead Andrew John Bourque and Linnea Rose put their heads together to create a play that draws upon both their interests.

Both had submitted impressive bids to create a senior honors production, and the Theatre Department suggested that they collaborate. Rose and Bourque agreed and immediately retired to the Sullivan Studio Theatre, their favorite place on campus, where they opened their laptops, notebooks, and minds.

Mind meld

Ideas soon began to flow, and the two seniors started to develop plotlines and create characters for their play, to be titled Fractured Inferno.

“It all happened so quickly,” said Bourque, recalling the fruitful brainstorming session that kicked off their collaboration.

“We put together a good-enough starting point and foundation to go home and start thinking about the play more closely,” said Rose.

Angels, demons & kid lit

Rose wrote and Bourque directed Fractured Inferno, a play focused on a man named Michael and the angel Gabriel. Michael, after falling into a rabbit hole of sin and temptation, awakens to discover his son is missing. He scours the Nine Circles of Hell, inspired by Dante’s Inferno, as he is faced with twisted versions of his son’s favorite storybook characters.

The one-act, 55-minute play debuted in April and satisfied Bourque’s artistic interest in melodrama and mythology as well as Rose’s attraction to documentary theatre and real-life incidents. Each scene drew from one of Dante’s circles: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery.

Profound themes

“The show is about morals, keeping the faith, and never losing hope,” said Rose.

As part of their project, the two Class of 2017 Theatre majors were responsible for casting the 16-student production, rehearsals, lighting, publicity, and more.

“Splitting up the tasks with Linnea was beneficial because it gave us more time to focus on certain aspects rather than trying to tackle the whole project as one person,” said Bourque. “Time management was an important part of this process.”

Rose “learned that communication is the key and how to collaborate more efficiently. This was a true partnership between Andrew and myself.”

The Theatre Department provided a budget of $500 along with access to department resources such as set pieces, costumes, and props.

“The collaboration between Andrew and Linnea is an exemplary model for young theatre artists,” said Theatre Department Chair Marilyn Plotkins. “This production has provided them with invaluable experience for the rigors of professional theatre.”