Festival celebrates Shakespeare

Apryl Mock

Managing editor

The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival will offer a variety of shows this summer, performed by a range of actors from professionals to participants in the young actor’s studio.

“Mister Gremory’s Caravan of Curiosities” opened on June 14 and 15, and will be performed on June 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for “Mister Gremory” are $20 for general admission and $15 at the discounted rate.

Discounted rates are given to senior citizens, students at any learning institution, teachers or faculty members at any learning institution, children 5 years and under who have not entered school, OSF board or trustees members, and OSF Juliet Guild Members. For a full list of available discounts and details on the criteria, visit www.oklahomashakes.com.

The young actor’s studio will be performing “Fame” on June 26, 27 at 7 p.m.
and June 28 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 at the discounted rate.

The children’s theater will be performing “Wizard of Oz” June 28 at 7:30p.m. and June 29 and 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 at the discounted rate.

There will be a performance of “The Comedy of Errors” by Shakespeare on July 12,16 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 at the discounted rate.

“Smoke on the Mountain,” a musical, will be performed on July 13 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and July 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 at the discounted rate.

“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will be performed on July 14 at 2 p.m. and July 18 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 at the discounted rate.

You may purchase tickets for OSF shows by visiting boxoffice@se.edu or by calling the box office at 580-745-2696. The box office hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Season tickets are available for $65. Group discounts are offered, for more information visit www.oklahomashakes.com.

This year’s season opener was a performance of “Mr. Gremory’s Caravan of Curiosities.” “Mr. Gremory” is a one-man show, written by and starring senior acting and directing and theatre management double major Dustin Curry. Curry performs magic tricks such as levitating a voodoo doll that is supposedly a former possession of Marie Laveau, the infamous voodoo queen.

Curry also performs stunts, such as “The Human Blockhead,” where he inserts a 4-inch nail in to his nose.

Director of Marketing Taylor Donaldson  said Molly Risso started OSF in 1979. Riley Risso Coker, producing director of OSF and daughter of the late Molly Risso, said that her mother started OSF as a way to bring the joy she experienced at the Utah and Colorado Shakespearean festivals to southeastern Oklahoma.

Risso was a professional actor and director in both Utah and Colorado Shakespearean festivals before she came to SE to teach, according to Risso Coker.

Risso Coker said that her goals for OSF are “To provide unique, family entertainment and the magical Shakespearean literature to Durant.”

According to Risso Coker, attendance at OSF has increased over the years because “play-goers have become more aware of us and know that we produce quality entertainment at a reasonable price.”

Risso has implemented an after school program for young thespians that helps prepare youngsters for a possible future career at SOSU and the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. Risso Coker also started The Katy Morris Symposium for Shakespearean and Renaissance studies.

This program is funded by OSF and provides teachers from rural communities with opportunities and resources to bring Shakespeare alive in the classroom, according to Risso Coker. Risso Coker said, “The Katy Morris Symposium for Shakespearean and Renaissance studies is very near and dear to my heart.”

Risso Coker maintains close relationships with her students. This past spring Donaldson was awarded the Molly Risso Memorial Scholarship. Donaldson said, “Mrs. Riley Coker has been like a mother to me, and to receive this makes me feel like I’ve accomplished an amazing feat and made her proud. Donaldson said his goal for OSF is to “keep the dream alive.”

Staff photo by Apryl MockBrianne Cothran, a senior acting and directing and technical theatre major,  watches closely as Derek Coker, a theater technician, attaches hangers for the curtain that will hide “the great and powerful Oz” in the children’s theater rendition of “The Wizard of Oz.” The show will be performed on June 28 at 7:30 p.m. and June 29 and 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Staff photo by Apryl MockBrianne Cothran, a senior acting and directing and technical theatre major, watches closely as Derek Coker, a theater technician, attaches hangers for the curtain that will hide “the great and powerful Oz” in the children’s theater rendition of “The Wizard of Oz.” The show will be performed on June 28 at 7:30 p.m. and June 29 and 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.