Since its inception, Tir na nOg has beckoned to a certain type of Reedie. For many science-fiction fans at Reed, this setting—where role-playing games (RPGs) and immense, hand-sewn squids sprawl across the common rooms, showings of classic SF/F films and anime fill the evenings, and friendly-but-pitched discussions over the nuances of Tolkien’s Legendarium, the allegorical politics of Star Trek, or the continuity of H.P Lovecraft’s short stories can last well into the night—represents a community of like-minded peers that’s hard to find elsewhere. Kieran Sheldon, a current sophomore and two-year nOg resident, says of his first visit to the dorm as a prospie that, “looking in at all the Magic cards and role playing games was one of the things that made me decide to come [to Reed.]” A former Tir na nOg alum had this to say about his experience in McKinley and Griffin, “...The colloquialisms used [by Tir na nOg residents] tend to divide people into the high fantasy Tolkien nerds, the low fantasy Doctor Who nerds, the common Pokémon nerds, and the errant outsiders who don't belong.”
As the first shadow-puppet thesis show in Reed history, The Deluge combined incredible sound design, a whimsical cast of shadow puppets, and mythical storytelling to create an immersive half-hour tale of natural disaster, transformation, and courage. Violet McAfee, who created and directed the show as a component of her thesis, was inspired to create the project after taking a puppetry class in the theater department. “It was a combination of the puppetry class as well as my interest in lighting design that brought me to shadow puppetry. It's a very spiritual medium, and that lends itself well to the kind of art I want to make,” Violet explained. Violet switched to theater late in her time at Reed, and is proud to be directing an entire original show, something she never would have expected upon switching majors.
Outside the windows of Eliot Hall, the sky is gray against the orange and yellow trees that grow less orange and less yellow every day. I read The Oresteia, or my psychology textbook, or Thucydides. I watch faculty and staff eat their lunches out of carefully packaged tupperware and show each other pictures of their families. They walk by in the hallway and greet each other kindly. The wood around the windows and on the walls is old and unchanged from years of staging different and yet identical actors in its rooms.