Oklahoma Baptist University

OBU Seniors Speak on Theatre Window in Stain-Glass Series

“As we are illuminated by the colorful light shining through these windows, we are here to celebrate the work of our students, who are emerging theatre professionals, and to help educate you, the captive audience,” said Dr. Joyce Aldridge, Oklahoma Baptist University assistant professor of theatre, at the opening of OBU’s weekly Chapel service, beginning a presentation inspired by the Theatre window in Raley Chapel.

The presentation celebrating theatrical arts was produced by the joint efforts of Aldridge and Laura Byland, assistant professor and director of theatre, as well as several OBU theatre majors.

The OBU theatre department has been a part of campus life for the past 77 years. Dr. Rhetta May Dorland, a drama and theatre professor, who received an honorary doctorate from OBU in 1965, was one of the major contributors to the creation of the university theatre department.

Theatre major Jesse Vinyard referenced the two drama masks located in the center portion of the theatre window. He stated that masks have always been a fundamental part of dramatic expression, tracing back to primitive people who wore them in their rituals – a practice adopted by Greek theatre.

“To think of a character as a mask underlines that theatre is not reality but an illusion of reality,” said Vinyard. “The two masks are now used as a symbol for the theatre in memory of the ancient Greeks.”

Senior theatre majors Rob Christiansen, Lee Matthews, Sherri Matthews, and Helena Newberry also spoke. Newberry compared the collaborative efforts required for a successful production to the many pieces of the window, noting each piece is essential to the window’s overall beauty.

“In theatre, each person must pull their weight or the beauty they create is also lost,” said Newberry. “Without each person, without each piece, the story told is less than it should be, because the beauty of both the window and theatre is in the stories that they tell.”

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