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OBU Theatre to Stage “Emily, An Amethyst Remembrance,” Feb. 6-9

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star
OBU Theatre's production of, “Emily, An Amethyst Remembrance,” will take the stage Feb. 6-9. Pictured: Sophomore theatre major Anna Smolen plays Emily Dickinson, one of the most famous poets in U.S. history. This play examines various events and relationships in Dickinson's life and her journey into a world of isolation in reverse time.

OBU Theatre’s production of, “Emily, An Amethyst Remembrance,” will take the stage Feb. 6-9. This play was written by 1999 OBU alumna Chris Cragin-Day. Performances will take place in Sarkeys Telecommunication Center’s Black Box Theater.

Performances Feb. 6-8 will take place at 7:30 p.m., concluding with a matinee Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students. They may be purchased online at www.okbu.edu/theatre or in person at the OBU Box Office inside Sarkeys Telecommunication Center weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The play is about the life of Emily Dickinson, the famous 19th century American poet. By the time she was 30, Dickinson had so isolated herself from the world that she never left the house and rarely accepted visitors. This play looks at the various events and relationships in Dickinson’s life and her journey into a world of isolation in reverse time, beginning with her life boarded up inside the New England Dickinson home and working backwards to her return home from Mount Holyoke College. It incorporates her poetic voice as a glimpse of her true self.

The play is under the direction of Joshua Peterson, 2002 OBU alumnus.

“Emily Dickinson is, perhaps, the most quoted American poet in our country’s history,” Peterson said. “What makes her life and story so unique is that, with few exceptions, she didn’t write her poems for public consumption. In fact, fewer than a dozen of her poems were published in her lifetime and even those were published anonymously.”

“I love this play because we get a glimpse into the life and soul of this remarkable woman, and how the complexities of her poems mirror the complexities of her life’s story.”

The cast of the play is comprised of OBU students including sophomore theatre major Anna Smolen as Emily; sophomore theatre major Augie Mathews as Austin; senior theatre major Grant McGee as Mr. Dickinson; senior theatre major Kendra Johnson as Mrs. Dickinson; sophomore theatre major Erin Loyd as Vinnie; sophomore theatre major Emma Greathouse as Sophia; senior theatre major Caleb Frank as Newton; junior theatre major Garrett Wheeler as Williamson; and junior student ministry and theatre major Bayleigh Platter as Sue.

The crew includes Peterson as director; Larashleigh Wallace, stage manager; Emili Ramos, assistant stage manager; Jake Yenish, technical director, scenic designer and lighting designer; Dr. Hephzibah Dutt, producer; Nathan Goforth, props manager; Garrett Wheeler, sound designer; Grace Fine, assistant sound designer; Kendra Johnson and Gracie Jackson, assistant costume designers; Grant McGee, public relations and house manager; Erin Loyd, display; Rachel Campbell, hair and makeup design; and Ethan Wood, board op.

Chris Cragin-Day is a NYC-based playwright, librettist and writing professor at The King’s College in Manhattan. She holds an MFA in stage directing from Baylor University. She has written numerous full length plays and musicals including, “Foster Mom,” “A Woman,” “The River Nun,” “The Rare Biosphere,” “Martin Luther on Trial,” “Tornado,” “Sun of a Gun,” “The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby,” “A War in a Manger,” and “Deadheading Roses.” She has also written many one-act plays and musicals including “They Know Something We Don’t,” “Port Authority,” “Milking Success,” “Dig,” “Peanut Butter or Soy,” “Pankhurst,” “Sandy” and “The Selfish Giant.”

She has received numerous awards and honors including Premiere Stages New Play Award, The Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, Eugene O’Neil Music Theater Conference, Richard Rogers Award Finalist, Yale Music Theater Institute Finalist and several prestigious grants. She has been in finalist in many competitions including the 2010 Riva Shriver Comedy Award Finalist, Primary Stages Semi-Finalist, Inter-Act Play Commission Finalist and American Blues Theater Finalist.

Joshua Peterson graduated from OBU in 2002. He is the founding artistic director of River and Rail Theatre Company in Knoxville, Tennessee, a professional regional theatre which recently opened a new 225 seat theatre called The Old City Performing Arts Center. Originally from Texas, he has lived and worked in Paris, France; Dallas; and New York City. Prior to moving to Knoxville, he served as the artistic director of Firebone Theatre Company in New York. In addition to his BA in theatre from OBU, he earned an MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Between pursuing his degrees, he spent two years in Paris working for the International Mission Board.

He will star in “Constellations” in March at River and Rail Theatre Company. Other selected regional acting and directing credits include, “The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby,” “Every Brilliant Thing,” “Of Mice and Men,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Measure for Measure,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “House and Garden,” “Our Lady of 121st Street,” and “Tape.”

Tickets for this and other shows may be purchased online at OBU Theatre at www.okbu.edu/theatre. They may also be purchased in person at the OBU box office located inside Sarkeys Telecommunication Center, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (405) 585-4350.

For more information about OBU, visit www.okbu.edu.

With its campus located in Shawnee, OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degrees with 88 fields of study and five master’s degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 1,868, with students from 37 states and 40 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 regional colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 28 consecutive years and Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college in the U.S. News rankings for 25 consecutive years. OBU is one of three universities in Oklahoma and the only private Oklahoma university listed on Great Value College’s rankings of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. The Wall Street Journal ranks OBU second in the nation for student engagement among all U.S. colleges and universities. Forbes.com consistently ranks OBU as a top university in Oklahoma and the Princeton Review has named OBU one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States for 15 consecutive years.