Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Juntunen, Jacob


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OFAustin Harrison, for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre, presented on April 10, 2020, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: DIVING INTO ONE’S PAINFUL PAST AND DARKEST INTERNAL FEARS: THE DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS OF THE THREAD THAT SNAPPEDMAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Jacob Juntunen This thesis details the development of my full-length play The Thread That Snapped from its early conception in 2019 to full production at Southern Illinois University Department of Theatre’s Christian H. Moe Theatre’s space in March 2020. In writing The Thread That Snapped, I was inspired by traumatic chapters within my life that shaped me as a human. This play, therefore, examines the unpredictable ways in which an individual is driven to insanity and the delicate thread that separates sanity and insanity. From this play comes a study into the human condition and how society and relationships shape who we become n life. Chapter One includes a statement of the project, the origin, and development of the script, initial structure and plot considerations for the script, research that impacted the creation of the script, character development, and tools for self-evaluation. Chapter Two covers the pre-writing process, feedback from my writing partner, notes from my advisor, Jacob Juntunen, and the director, Susan Patrick Benson, about the script’s development and an overall description of the play’s progression through drafts. Chapter Three describes the design meetings held in preparation for the production of The Thread That Snapped. Chapter Four details the audition and casting process as well as rehearsals for the piece. Chapter Five evaluates The Thread That Snapped’s production, describes ideas for future productions of the piece as well as possible revisions. Chapter Six concludes the thesis by tracking my progression in the playwriting program over the past three years. It includes my writing growth in terms of structure and developing my artistic voice. It also discusses my professional development over the time in the program, as well as the evolution of my teaching practice. I have also included in the thesis the production script of The Thread That Snapped.




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