Redefining the Classroom

Student debuts her science fiction for Honors program thesis

Posted: November 4th, 2012

TABLEAU OF MIND – Lake Superior State University student Sarah Becks, third from left, takes her actors through rehearsal for a science fiction play she has written, produced, and directed as an Honors program thesis. Beyond Perception runs Nov. 9-10 at 8 p.m. in the LSSU Arts Center black box theater. Admission is free, but seating is limited. From left are student actors Steve Dishman, Aaron Frederick, Sarah Becks, Loren Hins, Seth Witucki, Amy Battice, and Rachel Branstrom. (LSSU photo by John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Author Isaac Asimov once said that science fiction stories are extraordinary voyages into any of the infinite supply of conceivable futures. Lake Superior State University student Sarah Becks couldn't agree more, for she's chosen to write, design, and direct her own conceivable future as an Honors thesis project.

Her drama, Beyond Perception, runs Nov. 9-10 at 8 p.m. in the LSSU Arts Center black box theater. Admission is free but seating is limited.

Beyond Perception is in two acts and focuses on an empath’s struggle with knowledge, belief, and where the truth lies. For Becks, the project has been a nine-month journey, beginning in February with the proposal and continuing through drafting, casting, designing, rehearsals, and ending in this production. The final product explores the importance of finding the balance between extremes and of being able to see beyond one's own point of view.

"An empath’s first instinct is to heal, but there is an instinct deeper than healing that threatens every empath," says Becks of her story's main character, a creature that can feel emotions directly from others through telepathy. "Stranded on an alien vessel among humans who cannot understand her struggle, the empath Althea must face this ugly secret of her species and either overcome it to return to the conscious world or lose her mind forever to its madness.

"But she is not alone in her struggle," she adds. "There are outsiders who want to help her for better or worse: Tancred, who risks discovery attempting to reach her; Medraut, who claims knowledge of a deeper truth; and the chief technician of a Terran ship, who seems to know more than she should."

Becks says she draws inspiration from science fiction giant Isaac Asimov.

"His writing translates to the stage," she says. "His focus on the effects of science and technology on societies through its individuals, the availability of his writing even to non-scientific readers, and his twist endings that reveal something completely hidden at the start but obvious on the second read through."

Becks is also completing a separate English senior thesis that explores science fiction on the stage and what types of science fiction work best on what stages. After graduation she plans to be a high school English teacher and eventually pursue a master's degree.

Beyond Perception features student actors Rachel Branstrom, Seth Witucki, Sarah Becks, Steve Dishman, Aaron Frederick, Eleisha Marie Perrault, Amy Battice, and Loren Hins.

Run a Web search on "LSSU Honors" for more information about that program at Lake Superior State University.

Click here to follow the production on Facebook.


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315.