DUBUQUE, IA – After 34 years at Loras, Doug Donald has a lot to reflect on. At the end of the semester, Donald is retiring from his Communication and Fine Arts position, which includes his role as director of the Loras Players.
Donald says, “Every once in a while I do sit down and go, wow, this is the last time I’ll do this.”
There is only one week left until it’s curtains up for his last play, Darkness Visible. Though it’s Donald’s last play, it is the first time this script will ever be performed. Gary Arms, a retired Clarke professor, wrote Darkness Visible and is using the rehearsal process to fine-tune the script.
Arms says, “This is the first time I’ve ever gone to every rehearsal and made, you know, quite a few revisions.”
Of Arms’ 15 plays, this is the first time he’s ever worked this closely with the company.
Darkness Visible is about John Milton, the author of “Paradise Lost,” and how his writing of the poem affects those around him, including his two daughters and his two literary assistants. As the plot unfolds, the characters seem to almost turn into the character of “Paradise Lost.” Arms was inspired to write the show after teaching the epic poem multiple times in one of his British Literature courses at Clarke.
“I’ve done a lot in my life,” Arms says, “and watching somebody do a production of one of my plays, that’s kind of a thrill.”
Donald is excited to share the experience with his students. “That great thing about doing that original is that you end up kind having your creativity that has influenced something in that script, and it travels on to wherever it goes.”
With just one week left of rehearsals, the company continues to prepare for their world premiere right here in Dubuque.
Caroline Breitbach is a a sophomore at Loras College studying Media Studies and English Creative Writing. She is a reporter for LCTV News. She is serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Guild of St. Genesius.