Oklahoma Baptist University's theatre department plans to produce four shows this year. "Celebrating the strengths of our past ... influencing the inspiration for our future" is the theme of the new Bison Hill theatre season.
As It Is In Heaven, by playwright Arlene Hutton, will open the season. Featuring an all-female ensemble cast and filled with traditional Shaker hymns and dance, the play captures a portion of the American past and gives an empathetic, yet clear-eyed, perspective of a historic religious community. Using "Hands to work, Hearts to God" as their motto, the sisters find themselves at odds with one another when the structure and discipline of the community is threatened.
The play As It Is In Heaven will premiere on Oct. 3 in OBU's Craig-Dorland Theatre, with other shows on Oct. 4, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 12.
In November, College Players present The Real Inspector Hound, a story about two feuding theatre critics who are swept into the whodunit they are viewing. In the hilarious spoof of Agatha Christie-like melodrama that follows, the body under the sofa proves to be the missing first-string critic. As mists rise, Moon and Birdfoot become dangerously implicated in the lethal activities of an escaped madman.
The Real Inspector Hound performances will begin on Nov. 14 and continue on Nov. 15, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Craig-Dorland Theatre. A matinee performance will be presented on Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m.
The annual OBU Theatre for Young Audiences performance will be The Arkansaw Bear. Written by Aurand Harris, The Arkansaw Bear is a story of Tish, saddened and bewildered at her grandfather's approaching death, and the World's Greatest Dancing Bear. The play blends realism and fantasy, pathos and humor. Filled with music, magic and dance, the play has been applauded by children's and family audiences.
The Arkansaw Bear will open on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Craig-Dorland Theatre, with other shows on Feb. 28 and March 6 at 7:30 p.m., and a matinee on March 7 at 2:30 p.m.
The final theatre production of the season will be Stephen Vincent Benet's Stories of America. The story ranges from the Colonial years and the Revolutionary War to the opening of the West. The play brings historical stories to life using creative theatrical concepts, with short poems and simple musical interpolations to enhance and heighten the flow of action.
Stephen Vincent Benet's Stories of America opens on April 17 in Craig-Dorland Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Other evening performances include April 24 and 25 at 7:30, with two matinees on April 18 and 26 at 2:30 p.m.
College Players also will present An Evening of Entertainment in Sarkeys Studio Theatre on March 28 at 7 p.m.
Tickets for each show go on sale two weeks prior to opening night. To purchase tickets for any of the shows, contact the theatre department at (405) 878-2347. Offices are located in Sarkeys Telecommunication Center. Tickets are $6 for students, $8 for adults and $5 for children up to 12 years old. Season tickets are available for students for $20, adults for $25 and children for $15.
With an audience capacity of more than 200, Craig-Dorland Theatre is located in OBU's oldest building, Shawnee Hall. Once a small gymnasium, the Craig-Dorland Theatre became a jewel after renovations in 2002. Formerly the Rhetta May Dorland Theatre, named in honor of OBU's first professor of speech and theatre, the space was renamed in honor of the Cleo L. Craig Foundation of Shawnee. The Craig Foundation provided leadership support for the university's arts facilities renovation effort.
The Sarkeys Studio Theatre, located in Sarkeys Telecommunication Center, is a 100-seat blackbox theatre used mainly for classroom and rehearsal space, student-led productions and campus events.