Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana theatre student writes original play

For the past two years, an Augustana student has worked to perfect their one act play. Junior Jean Tegtmeyer has finished “The Queen of Greeks” and is thrilled get the opportunity to showcase their work with the Augustana Theatre Department

Tegtmeyer’s love for theatre started at a young age reading after New York Times magazine’s historical five minute play “read out louds,” but they never got to perform until their senior year of high school. Since then, Tegtmeyer has continued their passion for theatre in college.

When Tegtmeyer was in community college, they said they needed a “passion project.” They knew they wanted to write a historical based play with room for interpretation. Alexander the Great came to be the inspiration for “The Queen of Greeks.”

The script follows the main character Alexandra whose mother Queen Phillipa (leader of the empire) recently passed away and leaves the “queedom” and unfinished conquests for her daughter. The advisor in the plot makes it very clear to Alexandra that they must take over her mother’s legacy. Alexandra has a difficult time trying to balance her love affairs while ruling an empire and seeks guidance through other relationships during the play.  

At the end of December 2022, Tegtmeyer finished their first draft of the script and set up a read through. After the read through, Tegtmeyer saw the potential their script had and decided to put their production on stage where it belonged.

Jennifer Popple, co-chair of the theatre department, said Augustana has had a few original productions in the past, including original musicals,straight plays, one person shows and ensemble pieces. Popple said she was very much on board with allowing Tegtmeyer to showcase their production.

“It’s nice to support student written work. As long as it didn’t interfere with the Blackbox production that Grey White is directing as part of the mainstage season, we were happy to support it,” Popple said. “I’m excited to support the project, and I look forward to seeing it.”

This production is not an official part of the 2023-2024 season for the theatre department, however that does not mean that Tegtmeyer does not have plenty of helping hands throughout the department, including both faculty and students. 

Junior Paige Meyer, an editor on the script, has been a part of the process from the first read through and will now take on the role of Tegtmeyer’s stage manager.

Meyer has been involved in the theatre department, performing in the one act plays the directing class holds every year, but this is her first time being a stage manager.  

“This is something that is not departmentally affiliated. It’s something that is pretty much stand alone that Jean is doing a lot of work for, but something that they were able to achieve, which isn’t something that happens a lot,” Meyer said. “I would love to see people who are involved in theatre, if not write their own shows, but bring more shows to the students audience.”

As Tegtmeyer continues to grow their experience in their theatre journey, they have found they have an appreciation for all aspects of theatre, but directing is where their passion stems. With this upcoming rehearsal process, Tegtmeyer will bring in more of a collaborative atmosphere, wanting to hear interpretation from their actors.  

“Don’t be afraid to ask for other people’s help,” Tegtmeyer said. “You can’t do theatre without collaboration, that is the most important part of theatre.”  

Two years is a long time waiting for an audience to indulge in the dedication of both Jean and the production team. “The Queen of Greeks” is set to premiere Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 in the Blackbox at The Brunner Theatre. More details will be released as the production grows closer.

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