“In the Garden of Live Flowers:” Alpha Psi Omega play explores the life of Rachel Carson

Posted on Mar 9 2014 - 6:11pm by Guest Writer

By Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer

It is that moment when your alarm clock will go off in five to 10 minutes. Your body awakens a few minutes before you actually need to get up, and your mind is still begging for sleep.

So you close your eyes to get more sleep, and you become stuck in that world between a dreamland and reality.

The play “In the Garden of Live Flowers: A Fantasia on the Life and Work of Rachel Carson” consistently transports you between fantasy and reality, leaving you in that same trancelike state.

The show is about “Silent Springs” author Rachel Carson and her battle to live in reality while fighting the demons that came along with her breast cancer diagnosis. Carson navigates through the hurdles of everyday life while trying to make sense of her delusions.

“Alice in Wonderland” characters make appearances throughout the show, giving the fantasy element of the show a touch of familiarity.

Senior Sarah Makar plays the main character, Rachel Carson. Makar said she is excited for the play to go on, as the show has a message she believes should be heard.

“I would encourage anyone with a curiosity about the woman who had the gumption to stand up against an entire industry to save generations from the poisoning of the environment to attend the show,” Makar said. “Rachel’s [Carson’s] strength is unbelievable, and often her contribution goes unnoticed. Her story is being told.”

Carson’s book, “Silent Springs,” created a large stir when it originally came out. It is about the destruction of nature through the introduction of harmful chemicals to humans and animals alike.

“While everyone is affected by Rachel’s [Carson’s] work, not many people know who she is,” sophomore Hannah Jeske said. “This show will tell the audience her story and how she has changed the world. It also will give powerful insight into what life is like as a cancer patient.”

Junior Kayli Felbinger plays the nurse that ushers Carson in and out of various scenes. Felbinger also serves as a major reality check, bringing Carson out of her fantasy state multiple times.

“Anyone who sees this show should know that the play skips around in time and not all of it is real, not all of it is imagined — some scenes are both,” Felbinger said. “Let the fantasy of this play wash over you, let it be fun, find the comedy in there and laugh at it — it is there. But let it paint a picture of a very real situation too.

Members of Alpha Psi Omega, the PLU theatre honors society, organized the completely student-run show.

Most members of the cast have taken away different meanings from the show, but all agree that it should be seen by students, community members and faculty alike.

Sophomore Tasha Smith who plays Alice in the show, said the show is an overall crowd pleaser.

“This show is worth attending because it has something in it for everyone. For those who have a passion for ecology, Carson’s book, ‘Silent Spring,’  showed how harmful pesticides can be on plants, animals, humans, and the overall environment,” Smith said.

Smith said the play goes beyond just the environment, however.

“For those of us who have been touched by cancer, this story deals with Rachel’s [Carson’s] ongoing fight against breast cancer,” Smith said. “For anyone who’s a fan of fantasy, come see the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ characters come to life in Rachel’s [Carson’s] imagination. For anyone who simply loves the arts, this show is for you.”

For more information, visit the show’s event page on Facebook.