By Christine LaMont
During the Spring 2011 semester, Rogers State University graduate S. Patrick Mills presented his capstone project for a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. “Queerly Educated” is a play that includes sixteen monologues by sixteen separate characters that explore growing up lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning in Oklahoma. The Capstone committee voted it “Outstanding Capstone Project” for the 2010-2011 year, and now, it is even being produced for the 2011-2012 RSU Theatre season.
“ ‘Queerly Educated’ has the potential to be very controversial, it has the potential to deeply impact the people who see it, and I’m proud that RSU is not shying away from that,” explained Associate Professor Renee Cox when I asked her about the play. Professor Cox, who has been part of the theatre program for six years in the way of costume designer, will be directing the play—marking it her directorial debut at RSU.
As part of the Capstone Committee, Professor Cox was one of the first to read the play, passing it along to RSU Theatre Program Director David Blakely, who immediately saw the potential and wanted to produce it at RSU. Cox, Blakely, and Mills worked on revising and editing the play all summer—even after Mills was deployed to Afghanistan, where he remains serving in the United States military today.
Judges from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will be attending two of the play performances at RSU and deciding whether or not to include the play in an annual competition. If the play is selected, it will be performed by the RSU Theatre group in Norman, Oklahoma at the festival in February 2012.
Cox explains that “The audience will definitely feel like they’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster ride by the time the show is over— but in a good way! I would imagine that audience members, after they’ve left the show, will find themselves thinking about it for quite a while afterward”. Cox also wants to stress that the show contains mature content, and is meant for a mature audience.
“Queerly Educated” will debut in the Baird Hall Performance Studio on October 13th, 14th, and 15th at 7:07PM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, and completely free to RSU students and staff with RSU ID’s. Reservations are strongly recommended because seating is limited. For more information on reservations, contact the RSU Theatre Box Office at 918-343-6882 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cast includes: Rebecca Jordan, Jeremy Ryder, Andrew Grimes, John Parker, Tim Reiland, Andrew Nichols, Derek Thurman, Ashlee Overton, Pan Miller, Jalexa Schell, Matt McCann, Dr. Greg Thompson, Laura Fleck, and Mike Laborico.