SWOSU Theatre Plans Three Productions with First One October 6-8


Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Department of Communication and Theatre has a lot of variety to offer audiences for the 2011-2012 theatre season on the Weatherford campus. 

SWOSU productions include Lobster Alice on October 6-8, Jack and the Beanstalk on February 2-4 and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath on April 12-17.

Lobster Alice, by Kira Obolesnky, is a fictional speculation of a real life situation where the surrealist artist, Salvador Dali, worked with Walt Disney for six weeks in 1946. Dali went to Hollywood to work at the Disney Studios where he had been commissioned to create a short animated surrealist ballet based on the popular song, “Destino,” or “You Tempt Me.”  He spent most of his time with a young animator who was working on the color styling and design of Alice in Wonderland

Obolensky takes that moment in history and creates a madcap adventure through a very eclectic set of characters.  Alice Horowitz, coffee-bearing secretary, wants life to be interesting. John Finch, an animator at work on Disney's Alice in Wonderland, wants Alice. When the great and outrageous Dali arrives at the studio, life becomes more curious. Dali scanDALIzes the conservative Finch; Alice, coffee-bearing secretary, becomes Alice, girl in a rabbit hole; and Finch and Alice both experience the surreal vagaries of the human heart.

Jack and the Beanstalk, by Marjorie Sokoloff, is a short play for young audiences (and the young at heart), and is a new twist on a well-known story.  Jack's life is tough. He and his mother have no money, no food, a run-down house, and an opera-singing cow that won't give milk. Just as he's about to be sent off to an orphanage, Jack meets a mysterious stranger, who gives him three magic beans, along with an even more mysterious piece of advice that sets Jack climbing up a beanstalk and into the clouds. There, he meets a Giant who would do anything to change places with him. With the help of a wise-cracking hen and a self-absorbed cow, all of the characters work to solve their individual problems.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was renowned first as a novel, and then as a prize-winning motion picture. Frank Galati’s adaptation of the book into a play dramatizes Steinbeck’s story of the Joad family and their flight from the dust bowl of Oklahoma, which is so familiar to many. Desperately proud, but reduced to poverty by the loss of their farm, the Joads pile their few possessions on a battered old truck and head west for California, hoping to find work and a better life.

Led by the indomitable Ma Joad, who is determined to keep the family together at any cost, and by the volatile young Tom Joad, an ex-convict who grows increasingly impatient with the intolerance and exploitation which they encounter on their trek, the Joads must deal with death and terrible deprivation before reaching their destination—where their waning hopes are dealt a final blow by the stark realities of the Great Depression. And yet, despite the anguish and suffering which it depicts, the play becomes in the final essence a soaring and deeply moving affirmation of the indomitability of the human spirit, and of the essential goodness and strength which—then as now—resides in the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.

All productions take place in the SWOSU Hilltop Theatre.  For more information, contact Steve Strickler at 580.774.3082.  Ticket information is available by calling the box office at 580.774.6046.