The newly formed Student Theatre Organization at Rogers State University will present its first production with two short one-act plays – one dramatic and one humorous – on Thursday and Friday, March 31 and April 1 in the historic Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus.
The students will present “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, a murder-mystery set in the American heartland during the early 1900s, and “An Evening of Culture” by Mark Landon Smith, a contemporary comedy about a group of small town thespians who put on a Shakespeare performance for their Southern community. The plays will be presented back-to-back during both evenings. The performances, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m.
“Trifles” is based on actual events that occurred in a small Iowa town during the turn of the century. Glaspell worked as a reporter for the Des Moines News where she covered the trial of a farmer’s wife, who was eventually found guilty and received a life sentence for killing her husband. Several years later, Glaspell and her husband, George Cook, who also was a playwright, founded the Provincetown Players, an amateur theatre company in Cape Cod, Mass., to present plays considered too controversial for the Broadway stage. One of those plays was “Trifles,” which explores gender relationships through the male investigators, who focus on obtaining hard facts about the case, and their wives, who discover bits of evidence, or “trifles,” about the private life of the defendant.
“An Evening of Culture” is the sequel to the popular play “Faith County,” both of which are set in the fictitious Mineola County. In “An Evening of Culture,” the Mineola Society for Cultural Recognition is staging a production of “Romeo and Juliet,” in which cast members have failed to memorize their lines, the set is unfinished and dogs are barking offstage. Smith is a playwright based in Jonesboro, Ark., and is known for his plays about the quirky inhabitants of small Southern towns.
The RSU Student Theatre Organization was founded during the spring semester and has 12 members who are majoring in a variety of disciplines. The students meet each week to exercise their interest in theatre, discuss the role of theatre in American culture, select and plan upcoming productions, and rehearse their performances. They created all the costumes and sets for the productions. They receive no class credit for their work.
Members of the Student Theatre Organization include Charity Emanuel, president, Claremore (Emanuel is directing both plays); Shara Donikowski, vice-president, Inola; Josh Buehler, Oologah; Jamie Field, Claremore; Stephanie Garrison, Catoosa; Joel Goree, Bartlesville; Ryan Gott, Barnsdall; Jessica Kemp, Owasso; Blake Roode, Claremore; Amanda Self, Inola; Sam Smalley, Catoosa; and Aaron Henderson, Claremore.
Their faculty advisor is Dr. Chip Rogers, assistant professor, who teaches writing and literature classes at RSU. Rogers has a background in 19th Century British literature, history of the novel and Russian literature. Before joining the RSU faculty, he taught at The Citadel and the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
For more information on the spring productions of the new RSU Student Theatre Organization, call (918) 343-7748.