RSU Theatre to Present Plays by Oklahoma Writers

The Rogers State University theatre program will present two back-to-back plays by Oklahoma playwrights, including the Oklahoma poet laureate, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 1.

Performances of “Original Recipe: Original Plays by Oklahoma Writers” will begin at 7:07 p.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium on the RSU campus in Claremore.

“This is part of RSU Theatre’s commitment to present original work by Oklahoma playwrights,” said Dr. David Blakely, RSU assistant professor and director of the RSU theatre program.

The first play, “Kicking up Her Heels,” by Oklahoma poet laureate Francine Ringold, will be followed by “Ars Longa, Vita Ferris,” Blakely. Both productions together will last a total of 30 minutes with no intermission. Technical director for both plays will be Kevin Hoffman, and Blakely will serve as director and production designer.

“Kicking up Her Heels” will feature RSU student Katie Hendrickson of Pryor in the one-woman play. “Ars Longa, Vita Ferris” a story set in the fall of 1999 in an old, closed amusement park in Nags Head, N.C., will feature Paul Fisher and RSU professor William Hart in the cast.

Ringold is a 2003 winner of the “Writers Who Make a Difference” award from “The Writer Magazine.” Her name is synonymous in the minds of many with Nimrod, the international literary journal that she has edited and championed for almost 40 years at the University of Tulsa. Her published work includes: “The Trouble with Voices,”winner of the Oklahoma Book Award in 1996, “Every Other One,” a collaborative venture with her husband, poet Manly Johnson, “Voices,” written in1981, and several prize-winning plays, including one-woman presentations based on the lives of Mercy Otis Warren and Isadora Duncan. 

For several years, she wrote and produced radio programs on poetry as well as interdisciplinary live performances bringing poetry to new audiences. A devoted teacher, she has taught literature, creative writing and theatre at TU, and in the Oklahoma State Arts in Education and Artists in the Schools programs.

Blakely is an accomplished playwright, having written almost two dozen dramas, comedies and musicals staged across the nation. He also has experience in most aspects of theatre, having directed and provided set, light and sound design for dozens of plays. He has received several honors and prizes for playwriting.

Prior to joining RSU, he served as assistant professor of theatre and director of the theatre program at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C. He also has served as theatre program coordinator for the Playhouse Community Theatre in Rocky Mount, N.C. and technical director of the People’s Security Insurance Theatre for the Durham Arts Council in Durham, N.C.

Blakely received a law degree from Duke University, a master’s in fine arts in playwriting from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s of fine arts in theatre from the University of Oklahoma.

For more information about the plays, call (918) 343-7521.