Only in theater can you see a professor, a financial aid officer and a student all performing on stage together, said theater student Bettina Patterson.
An eclectic collection of cast members is just one of the enticements to attend “The Next Generation,” the last theater production of the season.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, and continue through Saturday, April 30, in the Bruce Owen Theater in the Arts and Humanities building. Admission is free on Thursday to OCCC students and faculty and $10 for general admission. Students pay $5 on Friday and Saturday.
“Next Generation” features three student-directed one-acts.
“Where else can you see three different shows by three separate directors for $5?” Patterson said. She plays Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife, in “Trifles,” a murder story by Susan Glaspell.
Student director Jade Webb takes on “Trifles,” an early 20th century feminist play. It’s a dark satire about a woman in jail for the murder of her abusive husband, ironically named Mr. Wright.
The play’s theme mocks the culture of its time, Webb said. It plays into an overdramatized perception of women, their love of irrelevant matters, and their total incompetence.
While deriding societal constructs, Webb said, it shows that it’s almost silly that women would be treated differently.
“It’s funny that we wouldn’t be seen as equal, in any time period,” Webb said.
The opening act is “Degas C’est Moi” by playwright David Ives. Student director Angela Curtis describes “Degas C’est Moi” as a lighthearted comedy about a man who awakens to realize he is Edgar Degas, the famous French painter.
“It’s a way of him trying to look at the world in a different way, but in the end you have to be happy with yourself,” Curtis said.
The third and final act, “Bobby Gould in Hell,” is directed by Mitch MacFarland. This drama is about a man who spends an hour in hell. Forced to look at himself, he poignantly discusses the perceptions of what makes us good or evil.
“We don’t know who we really are until someone outside of us objectively puts a list of things you have done, and all these things make you a certain kind of person,” MacFarland said.
All three directors said they want their plays to be seen and they want to feel supported by their fellow students. This is the last semester for all three directors and the culmination of their work here at OCCC.
Actor Randy Beavers, who plays Mr. Hale in “Trifles,” voiced his excitement for the directors.
“It’s great what the school is allowing them to do,” he said. “When they leave here, they will have experience and respect. They directed a play themselves.”
Beavers urged everyone to attend.
“Come out and forget your worries for an hour and a half,” he said. “I promise you won’t be sorry.”
For more information, call the Arts and Humanities Department at 405-682-7558.