Apr. 6, 2007

RSU to Present Play Based on Timothy McVeigh and Gore Vidal

An unlikely friendship between two very different men – based on the actual correspondence that developed between Timothy McVeigh and the writer Gore Vidal during the terrorist’s incarceration on death row – is the basis for the play “Terre Haute” to be presented April 12-14 and 19-21 at Rogers State University.

The play will coincide with the 12th anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19 and is being presented by RSU Theatre as part of its year-long commemoration of the Oklahoma Centennial.

The RSU production of “Terre Haute” by playwright and novelist Edmund White will be a regional premiere and the second time the play has been presented on stage. The play’s premiere is on April 7 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco.

Two young RSU students from Claremore will tackle these two very demanding roles filled with dialogue between the two men. The entire play is set in the visitation room of a maximum security prison, said David Blakely, RSU theatre coordinator. Blake Taylor Roode will portray the writer and Josh Buehler has been cast in the role of the terrorist.

“The play presents a very complex relationship between two very complicated men,” Blakely said. “Although this is not light material, I believe it will be an enriching experience for both the two young actors and the audience.”

The play plumbs the relationship between the two men, and although the writer is appalled by the terrorist’s form of protest and the shedding of innocent blood, he sympathizes with his quarrel against the government.

Edmund White, who lives in New York City and teaches writing at Princeton University, is best known for his trilogy of autobiographical novels, “A Boy’s Own Story,” “The Beautiful Room is Empty” and “The Farewell Symphony.” He also is the author of biographies on Jean Genet and Marcel Proust. His most recent memoir is titled “My Lives,” published in 2005.

The play will be presented at 7:07 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 12-14, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 19-21, in the Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore. Tickets will be available at the door and are $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, free for all RSU students, staff and faculty members, and free for all area students with a valid student identification card, regardless of school affiliation. For more information, contact the RSU theatre program at (918) 343-7521.