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Directing the play "Aria Da Capo" for the Majestic Reader's Theatre helped Sarah Sheldrick link fond memories of her family to the academic course she's following now.

Sheldrick's late grandmother gave her the script for the one-act play back in 1989. Sheldrick is held onto it ever since.

These days, Sheldrick is pursuing a PhD in environmental science with a focus in negotiations in water conflict at Oregon State University.

"This play has a water conflict in it, and I can't believe my grandmother gave me it to me when I was 18 years old," Sheldrick said.

"I'm just really glad the Majestic Theatre gives the opportunity to try things that are new and different or old and different," she said.

The play, written by poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1918, will have two performances Sunday, along with "No Exit" in the Majestic Lab Theatre. Millay's one-act morality play is broken into three parts and runs about 20 to 30 minutes.

The first part begins with two traditional commedia dell' arte characters, the lovers, sitting at a table talking. They are a young artist named Pierrot, played by Wolfgang Dengler, and a young woman, Columbine, played by Wendy M. McCoy.

In Millay's play, the lovers begin by caricaturing the bohemian types the author knew in Greenwich Village and commenting on the radical movements of the post-WWI era, Sheldrick said.

In the beginning of part two, the lovers are interrupted and ushered off stage by the stage manager, Cothurnus (Jen Waters), so two young shepherds Thyrsis (Rory McDaniel) and Corydon (Sophia Bethel) can play a game. For this game, the two shepherds must divide their flock of sheep and build a wall between them.

Cothurnus manipulates the shepherds into turning against each other and hoarding their possessions.

"Things become more escalated, as we find out that the only source of water is on one side of the wall. The whole other flock will not have water now," Sheldrick said.

The second part ends in tragedy.

The lovers return for the last part of the play. They are talking and trying to ignore the aftermath of the game.

Sheldrick said Millay was trying to make points about all of the divisions people felt after WWI, but the play isn't all gloom and doom.

"It is a very funny play," she said.


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