RSU Theatre to Present Shakespeare and Student Plays during Sixth Season

The annual tradition of Shakespeare, original plays written by students and productions in the new Baird Hall performance studio will highlight the sixth season of the theatre program at Rogers State University.

The 2010-2011 RSU Theatre Season will begin with “The Walk Around,” in which guests will walk around the RSU campus in Claremore, encountering five-minute plays along the way. All “walk around” plays were written by RSU students, and will be presented at 7:07 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 9-11. Those attending should meet at the Will Rogers Auditorium for the “walk around,” which is free of charge.

“RSU Theatre is committed to encouraging and producing original plays written by our students,” said David Blakely, director of RSU Theatre and associate professor.

RSU Theatre will present “The Sinker,” by Jami Brandli, at 7:07 p.m. on Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 4-6 in the Will Rogers Auditorium. A matinee performance will be held at 2:07 p.m. on Nov. 3.

Brandli, a nationally known, award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced across the nation, teaches dramatic writing at Lesley University in Boston. She will visit the RSU campus during production of her play, meeting with students in theatre classes and during rehearsals.

“The Sinker” begins the day after the big party celebrating main character Josh’s latest achievement: a deal to publish his first novel. Three people are trapped in a house by blizzard conditions: George, Josh’s childhood friend; Liz, his literary agent; and Candi, his ambitious writing student. When a mysterious gun turns up, the tension grows and a trigger is pulled.

On Nov. 18-19, the theatre program will present readings of the classic southern play, “Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling. The readings will be held in the new Performance Studio, Room 131 of Baird Hall. In the play, six very different women come together in a beauty salon to share their secrets and bare their souls, throwing in a little neighborly gossip for good measure. Dr. Mary Mackie, RSU associate professor, will serve as director of “Steel Magnolias.”

RSU Theatre’s annual tradition of Shakespeare continues in February with “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” William Shakespeare’s masterpiece will be presented on Feb. 10-12 and 16-19 in the Will Rogers Auditorium. “Hamlet” begins on a dark winter night, as a ghost who resembles the recently deceased King walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. When the king’s son is brought to see the ghost, it speaks to him, declaring ominously that it is indeed his father’s spirit, and that he was murdered by none other than the current king. Dr. Greg Thompson, head of the RSU Department of English and Humanities, will serve as director of “Hamlet.”

On March 10-12, the theatre program will present “Re: Design” by British playwright Craig Baxter in the Baird Hall Performance Studio. “Re: Design” chronicles the relationship between Charles Darwin, who developed the theory of evolution, and 19th Century botanist Asa Gray over 40 years. The play, commissioned by the Darwin Correspondence Project at the University of Cambridge, presents discussions between the two scientists based on the archive of their letters.

The RSU theatre program will culminate the season with its annual “Student-Directed Plays” on April 7-9 in the Baird Hall Performance Studio. The plays will be announced at a later date.

“This will be an opportunity to witness our students’ theatrical vision as they select and direct plays,” Blakely said.

Ticket prices will be announced later in the season and are available prior to each production at the box office in the Will Rogers Auditorium.

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