CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University Theatre will present in May the premiere of "The Upward-Beating Heart," an original, devised work developed by OSU students.

In theater, devised plays are those where the script originates from collaborative, often improvised work by a group of people, rather than by a writer or writers. "The Upward-Beating Heart" is based on Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet."

Performances will be held May 11-13 and May 19-20, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and on May 21 beginning at 2 p.m. in the Withycombe Hall Main Stage theatre, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.

The play is a romantic drama set during the historic battle over the town Teruel, Spain, in the winter of 1938. When Federico, a young and aimless poet and musician, befriends a ragtag group of political activists, he is torn between loyalty to his brother, a Nationalist soldier, and the fight against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War.

The tale explores themes of passion, fear and the role of art in political resistance. The script, written by a group of OSU students, includes original music and brings to life the complexities of the intersections of love, politics, and ideals.

"This has been an ambitious year-long project and demonstrates the incredible talent of our OSU students," said Elizabeth Helman, director and member of the OSU Theatre Arts faculty. "The story is funny, thoughtful, and ultimately extremely moving. I'm very excited to share it with our campus and Corvallis community."

The cast features OSU students Casey Collins as Hermana Clara; Sedona Garcia as Carla/Emilia; PJ Harris as Carmen; Sydney King as Lucia; Ben Lawrence as Luís; Thomas McKean as Federico; Annie Parham as Ana; Elena Ramirez as Adelita; Alex Small as Desi; Mike Stephens as Guillermo;  Kyle Stockdall as Martín; and Sarah Sutton as Maria. The cast also includes Corvallis community members Matt Holland as Carlos and Rick Wallace as Rico.

Tickets are $12 for general admission; $10 for seniors; $8 for youths/students; and $5 for OSU students. Tickets will be available for purchase online beginning May 1 at: They are also available through the OSU Theatre Box Office by calling 541-737-2784. Contact the box office for disability access accommodations and/or group ticket sales.

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