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Let the Play Begin

January 14, 2005

"We at OBU Theatre make every effort to provide quality live entertainment to our campus and community. We strive for excellence in the work of the faculty and in the work of the student. We consider the stage experience an extension of the classroom, therefore, we set the highest of standards. This may mean, in choosing a season of plays, that we may deal with difficult social issues such as cancer (W;T), the dysfunctional family (True West), the search for one's identity (A Shayna Maidel), along with plays that are just fun. Ultimately, we strive to provide a dynamic contribution to the cultural and spiritual life of OBU," says Laura Byland, assistant professor of theatre.

Because OBU Theatre is committed to the liberal arts education mission of the university, the theatrical season serves this mission by providing well-staged works of important world literature. The literature also must be of a range and difficulty that it sufficiently trains students for teaching, graduate school or commercial theatre endeavors.

"The play selection is a collaborative effort of the theatre faculty," Laura says. "Season selection is an artistic license granted through trust and with agreed understanding by the administration and trustees of OBU."

Plays also must fit reasonable into the framework of Christian commitment and lifestyle. Plays that debate moral dilemmas are a function of vital theatre, but the department makes every effort to avoid portraying gratuitous acts of violence or obscenity.

"OBU Theatre also serves the Shawnee community through its play selection process by providing both entertainment and education for the regional populace through Theatre for Young People, open casting opportunities and discussion sessions in open forums," she says.

"We select plays for performance that can be given a quality stage life and fit within the agreed upon budget of OBU theatre."