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Oklahoma Premier of “Where Words Once Were” Coming to SWOSU

"Where Words Once Were" ProductionSWOSU student actors and the stage management team are (front from left): Sierra Gilley, Hobart; Dillon Propst, Stillwater; Reuben Woody, Duncan; and Alex Hawkins, Mangum. Back from left—Savannah McCormick, Okarche; Audra Crisp, Hydro; Parker Tidwell, Piedmont; Payton Phillips, Shallowater (TX); and Roberto Tafoya, Kingfisher.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University Theatre will be presenting the Oklahoma premier of Where Words Once Were by Finegan Kruckemeyer on November 16-19 on the Weatherford campus.

This is only the sixth performance of the play in the United States.  Kruckemeyer was commissioned by the Theatre for Young Audiences Department at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. 

The playwright said that he was invited to write a play in which language was the main character. 

“This provocation was so evocative, so shapeless, so poetic that many ideas came to mind,” Kruckemeyer said. “But eventually one was sat down with – that of a world allowing finite words, a boy possessing few, a girl afforded none.  Forbidden from meeting, they meet.  Forbidden from questioning the rules, of course (as heroes, heroines, teenagers) they do.” 

He created a dystopian society where language is controlled by limiting the vocabulary of “The City” to 1,000 words.  When a new word is needed, an old word is banned from the language. 

Steve Strickler of the SWOSU department said the play is an incredible and beautiful lesson in the power of words.  Through the use of literary devices such as anagrams, palindromes, and homonyms, the playwright cleverly uses the language to communicate a very rich message.  

Performances in the SWOSU Hilltop Theatre will be at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16, 18 and 19 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 17.  Admission is free with a valid SWOSU I.D., $5 for adults and $3 for non-SWOSU students.

The SWOSU Hilltop Theatre Box Office will begin taking reservations on November 4.  Box Office hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.