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Fruit flies make their stage debut

Audiences at a college production of Sartre's "The Flies" got swarmed in their seats by thousands of bugs bred on campus

Gabriella Doob
Last month, audiences of Brown University's production of the Jean-Paul Sartre play "The Flies" were greatly outnumbered by 30,000 fruit flies, bred by a science student specifically for the play."The Flies" is Sartre's take on a Greek tragedy, in which the protagonist, Orestes, murders his mother and her lover. The purpose of the flies, according to the show's director, Brown senior James Rutherford, is to physically manifest the guilt that plagues Orestes after his deadly deeds. Rutherford hinted the thousands of bugs add a political significance, as well. "I just wanted to insinuate that there were so many [flies] around now because we were in days of remorse and political apathy."The flies had a palpable effect. According to Rutherford, several audience members remarked that the flies made the room's temperature feel hotter. "Swatting at the flies keeps you in mind of other sensations," Rutherford said. "You became more...

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