The Diviners Coming to the SWOSU Stage


The Diviners Cast and Crew
Cast and crew of The Diviners that will be staged at SWOSU are (front from left): James Brennan, Lawton; Sheri Flowers, Graham TX; Corianne Fairchild, Leedey; Kaitlyn Bryn Hull, Cushing; Rhiannon Jensen, Woodward; Amber Patrick, Howe TX; and Wes Hayes, Howe TX. Middle row from left—Josh Ramos, Tulsa; Chelsey Hardin, Cordell; Robert Inman, Granite; Kaylee Willyard, Auburndale FL; Nikki Reiss, Moore; Kieffer Fulsom, Newkirk; Monica Sallaway, Omaha NE; and Drew Krause, Okeene. Back from left—Caleb Zerby, Yukon; Kris Benton, Stroud; Bella Jennings, Oklahoma City; Adam Boothby, Guymon; Merritt Taylor, Cordell. Not pictured is Joseph Suderman, Weatherford.

The Diviners by Jim Leonard will be the season opening play for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Department of Communication and Theatre, and tickets are now on sale for performances planned November 14-16 and 21-24 on the Weatherford campus.

Leonard’s earthy, funny, poignant and profoundly tragic play will be featured each night at 7:30 p.m. except November 24 when an afternoon performance is set for 2 p.m. in the SWOSU Hilltop Theatre.

For reservations or more information, call the Hilltop Theatre Box Office Mondays through Fridays from 4-7 p.m. at 580.774.6046. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for students and free for individuals with a valid SWOSU I.D.

Director Steve Strickler said the play echoes some of the nation’s greatest depression era writings. In the mythic town of Zion (population 40), in southern Indiana, Buddy Layman has the incredible gift of divining for water. His talent for water witching comes from his terrible fear of water. A tragic accident left him brain damaged and motherless as his mother drowned while trying to save him. A charismatic preacher questioning his faith “stumbles” into this town befriending Buddy, helping him overcome this intense phobia, and propelling The Diviners to its tragic finale.

Buddy Layman is portrayed by Okeene junior Drew Krause. The preacher, C.C. Showers, is portrayed by Howe (TX) junior Wes Hayes.  Buddy’s father and sister are portrayed by Guymon junior Adam Boothby and Graham (TX) junior Sheri Flowers.

That town’s population includes Norma Henshaw, portrayed by Omaha (NE) junior Monica Sallaway; her niece, Darlene Henshaw, portrayed by Howe (TX) junior Amber Patrick; the local café owner Goldie, portrayed by Nikki Reiss of Moore.  The family is supported by their friends, Basil and Luella Bennett, portrayed by two students from Cordell:  freshman Chelsey Hardin and junior Merritt Taylor. 

The fictional town includes Dewey Maples played by freshman Kris Benton of Stroud and Melvin Wilder, played by senior Joshua Ramos of Tulsa.

Other townspeople are Corianne Fairchild (Leedey freshman), Robert Inman (Granite  freshman), Joseph Suderman (Weatherford freshman), and Caleb Zerby (Yukon freshman).  Students serving in other production areas include: Kaitlyn Bryn Hull (Cushing freshman), Bella Jennings (OKC freshman), Kieffer Fulsom (Newkirk senior), James Brennan (Lawton senior), Rhiannon Jensen (Woodward sophomore) and Kaylee Willyard (Auburndale (FL) sophomore).

The Diviners is under the guidance of SWOSU faculty members Strickler and Dr. Joe Thompson.

For more information, contact Strickler at or 580.774.3082.