The upcoming Rogers State University theatre schedule will feature a series of Oklahoma-related productions, including a seldom-produced play by Claremore playwright Lynn Riggs and the regional premiere of a play dramatizing events following the Oklahoma City bombing to coincide with the 12th anniversary of the attack.
“To celebrate Oklahoma’s centennial in 2007, the theatre program will focus on plays about Oklahoma or written by Oklahomans,” said David Blakely, RSU assistant professor of communication and director of the RSU theatre program. “We were looking to find diverse productions that would provide audiences with new and thought-provoking perspectives on significant events during the course of Oklahoma’s history.”
The productions will be produced and performed by RSU students, faculty and community members. The RSU theatre season will focus primarily on new plays to provide exposure to emerging voices within the theatre community, including potential performances of student-developed plays, Blakely said.
On Feb. 1-2, the group is scheduled to perform Riggs’ “Out of Dust.” The location is to be announced. This seldom produced play tells the tragic tale of the dysfunctional Grant family and the impact of greed and jealousy on their lives during a cattle drive. Old Man Grant is the family’s Bible-quoting patriarch who seeks to control every aspect of the lives of his family and employees. Much like King Lear, Grant measures the worth of his three sons and their spouses by their ability to do what he wants, when he wants and in the manner he sees most fit.
In April, the RSU theatre program will present the regional premiere of Edmund White’s “Terre Haute” on April 12-14 and April 19-21 at 8:07 p.m. at the Will Rogers Auditorium. This play explores the complicated relationship between a U.S. terrorist and the famous writer who befriends him. Set in a high-security federal prison on death row, “Terra Haute” tells the story of a young man, based on Timothy McVeigh, about to be executed for blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City. An older man, based on Gore Vidal, is attracted to the young man and to some degree sympathies with his quarrel against the government, though he is appalled by the form of protests, the shedding of innocent blood. These men are different in every way. One has a story to write, the other a story to tell. The April 19th performance will coincide with the 12th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
This fall, the theatre season will start off with “In a New York Minute,” three original 10-minute plays from New York playwrights to be performed Thursday, Sept. 7, at 5:06 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 8, at 2:06 p.m. in RSU’s Baird Hall, Room 107. “Rug Store Cowboy,” written by Gary Garrison, tells the tale of a young Manhattan carpet store salesperson who goes on an emotional roller coaster ride when a rambunctious Texas cowboy comes in to buy a rug. “Outcome,” written by S. W. Senek, presents the story of Bob and Lisa, who see their future pass before their eyes as they anticipate the results of a pregnancy test. “On the Wings of a Butterfly,” written Craig Pospisil, finds the main character, Jasper, wondering if Hurricane Katrina could be blamed on a butterfly.
“Nickel and Dimed” will be presented on Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-4 at 8:06 p.m. at the Will Rogers Auditorium on the Claremore campus. The play, written by Joan Holden, is adapted from the best-selling book of the same title by Barbara Ehrenreich. The piece tells the story of an “undercover” journalist who explores what it’s really like to live and work in low-wage America. Taking entry-level jobs as a waitress, a maid and a Wal-Mart sales clerk in different cities across the country, Ehrenreich discovers how difficult it is to survive in today’s world on a minimum wage. A provocative look at how America perceives its working poor.
“Nickel and Dimed” also is expected to be taken on the road for a performance in Tahlequah later in November, Blakely said.
RSU faculty members will flex their performance muscles during the one-act spoof of the advertising industry, “Quest for the Clio!” on Nov. 16-17 at 8:06 p.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium. The play is written by Jeff Gentry, Mitch Markowitz and Heath Doerr, and adapted by Jeff Gentry, who serves as department head for the RSU Department of Communications and Fine Arts. The evening will also include performance of contemporary music and original poetry to round out the eclectic program.
The RSU Student Theatre Organization will present student-directed performances on March 8-10 at 8:07 p.m. at the Will Rogers Auditorium. The shows are to be announced, however Blakely said he hopes the Student Theatre Organization would select one-act plays developed by RSU students in the new scriptwriting class RSU will be offering this year.
Blakely said he hopes to enter a student-written production into the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s regional competition, scheduled for Feb. 28-March 4 in Tulsa.
Also in March, the department will present William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” at 8:07 p.m., March 29-31, at the RSU Outdoor Amphitheater located in the RSU Conversation Education Reserve on the Claremore campus. This classic work tells the story of two very different sets of lovers: Beatrice and Benedick, and Claudio and Hero. The main plot revolves around obstacles to the union of two young lovers, Claudio and Hero, with the sub-plot centering around the “merry war” of the sexes between Beatrice and Benedick.
All productions are free to RSU faculty, staff and all students regardless of school affiliation who present valid student identification. For the general public, tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors.
For more information on RSU theatre productions, or to get information about participating in the theatre productions, contact David Blakely, head of the RSU theatre program, at (918) 343-7521 or [email protected]