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Time, Love and Coffee: Making "The Fractal Pattern"

A poster for "The Fractal Pattern"

A little over a year ago, a small group of college students gathered inside Mugby Junction. We opened our laptops, pulled up our emails, and double clicked on something our friend and peer, Conlan Carter, had written: a play called “The Fractal Pattern.” Since that first gathering, “The Fractal Pattern” has gone through many drafts and stages, including a staged reading at the end of last semester. Each of these was an achievement for Carter’s script and, this week, Carter’s play will finally be publicly performed before the university community. The WSU Theater and Dance Department will host an official production complete with sets, costumes, lights and actors.

Putting together the production has been a whirlwind process, one that Carter finds extremely rewarding. When asked what he thought was most enjoyable about the process, Carter said, “It has been wonderful to see how one artistic idea can grow. That’s one of my favorite things about theatre: it’s all collaborative.” Although the script began as Carter’s personal project, it’s grown into a multi-person production with people reading, interpreting, and working with his words.

As exciting as the process can be, however, Carter also said it was also a little frightening. The script has changed since that initial draft we read through at Mugby Junction, and Carter confided to me that the editorial process was full of self-doubt, “You hear the words you have written so many times,” he said, “You wonder whether or not that was a good line, beat, character choice, et cetera.” He mentioned that, though the show will be staged this week, he’s still not finished revising. Carter likes to save all of his old drafts, just in case he changes his mind about an idea and decides to revisit it later on.

Conlan’s current version of this production opens in the PAC black box theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and runs through Saturday evening. Although the tickets are free to Winona students, they can still be “purchased” at the PAC black box. Seats in the theater are limited in number, and the department recommends that audience members should be at least thirteen years old because of strong language and content.

Though staging “The Fractal Pattern” has required a lot of time, love, and coffee, Carter believes that’s what makes it so special. The show has developed and grown exponentially over the past year and, this weekend, it will finally have its turn in the limelight.​

– Olivia Wulf

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