A funny thing happened in the theater
Some readers probably remember seeing Theater Arts major Daraja Rae Stewart if they watched “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” a light hearted musical, presented by The Oklahoma City Repertory Theater last fall in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Stewart played the role of a fierce, athletic, strong headed woman named Gymnasia. Gymnasia was one of the courtesans in the play set in the time of Ancient Rome.
“I worked out a lot leading up to the performance,” Stewart said. “I wore a costume bra and costume panties with over-the-knee, thigh high boots with six inch heels,
a very amazonian look.”
Stewart said getting on stage and being herself was empowering even though she was shaking with nervousness about her wardrobe.
She was able to apply techniques she learned from her OCCC professors and dove right into the character, Stewart said.
OCCC is known for providing students with hands on experience, Stewart said.
“Working with professional actors from New York is an experience I will never forget,” Stewart said. The star of the performance was Robert Picardo, who played the role of the medical doctor in the Star Trek Voyager television series.
Stewart said she plans on transferring to the University of Central Oklahoma after graduating from OCCC in May.
The aspiring actor said her career goals are to be a film performer in dramas, comedies, or maybe even romantic comedies.
Stewart, 19, said she began putting on skits and fashion shows for her family at the age of 3. And she first acted in a play when she was 7 and a half years old. Stewart grew up in Oklahoma City where she currently resides.
Attending OCCC was a no-brainer for Stewart.
“I wanted some time to develop my art at a collegiate level before getting thrown into a university type setting, so OCCC was the perfect fit for me.”
Stewart said there are many reasons OCCC is a great college but the diversity at OCCC is her favorite thing about the college.
Stewart said her favorite class was Advocates of Peace with English Professor Stephen Morrow.
“It taught me how to understand my emotions and feelings, and express them peacefully,” she said.
Morrow gave Stewart praise for maturing during her time at OCCC.
“I’ve seen a really wonderful growth in her overall confidence and feeling more grounded in that she belongs,” Morrow said.
Like many other students, Stewart spends a lot of her time at the college between classes and working on campus as a tutor in the Communications Lab.
“I really liked my English Comp I class with English professor Michael Snyder; he’s the reason I have this job,” Stewart said. “I visited the Comm Lab so many times during his class because he challenged us in a way that made us want to do better.”
During her time at OCCC, Stewart performed in two other productions as a freshmen including “Little Murders” directed by OCCC Theater Professor Brent Noel and “Rocky Horror Show” directed by Jon Haque, business manager of CityRep.
Stewart said her attention has shifted to her YouTube channel, R for Rae, which she launched a week ago. Her videos are humorous and carefree, Stewart said.
She currently has 72 subscribers.
To watch her videos search Stewart’s YouTube channel “R for Rae.”