Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Theatre Arts will present By the Bog of Cats at Ouachita’s Verser Theatre on Nov. 7-12. Performances on Nov. 7-9 and 11-12 will be at 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s matinee Nov. 10 will be at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 each and may be purchased at www.obu.edu/boxoffice.com.
By the Bog of Cats is a play written by Marina Carr, and “No, it’s not about cats,” said Kathleen Suit, a sophomore theatre arts major from Hot Springs, Ark., who plays Caroline Cassidy.
“It is a modern representation of the ancient Greek tragedy Medea by Euripides,” she explained. “It is centered around a small community in Ireland called The Bog of Cats and takes a look deep into the lives of some of its very troubled residents.”
Director Garrett Whitehead, a senior musical theatre major from Cleburne, Texas, said the production has “a great moral lesson about sacrifices and how gossip, greed, hearsay and lies can push an individual beyond human endurance.”
The characters in By the Bog of Cats have their own agenda that leads to love, hatred, greed, betrayal and loss. It is “a serious, emotionally heavy show,” Suit noted.
Even though the production is not light-hearted, “there is a character going through something that everyone can relate to, and the text is beautiful,” Whitehead said.
“My favorite thing about being in this production, so far,” he said, “is getting to work with a cast of individuals who are just as passionate about the project as I am. Every member of the cast brings something new to the process every rehearsal.”
With the show being emotionally heavy and requiring an Irish dialect, Suit explained how the production is challenging her and the rest of the cast. “The combination is quite an obstacle we are having to overcome, but one that, upon completion, will have stretched us all to new heights,” she said.
“I really encourage people to come out and let us tell you this wonderful story,” said Suit.
In addition to Whitehead, Natalie Williams, a sophomore music theory and composition major from Little Rock, Ark., serves as music director. Jillian Kaniss, a senior psychology and theatre arts major from Texarkana, Texas, serves as stage manager, and Aaron Pinion, a sophomore theatre arts major from Tulsa, Okla., serves as assistant stage manager.
In addition to Suit, the primary cast of By the Bog of Cats includes: Sara Cat Williams, a sophomore biology major from Roland, Ark., as Hester Swane; Joe Ochterbeck, a senior theatre arts major from Maumelle, Ark., as Carthage Killbride; Kayla Esmond, a senior musical theatre major from Burleson, Texas, as Mrs. Killbride; Sarah Davis, a senior theatre arts and Christian studies major from Bedford, Texas, as Monica Murray; Kayla Walker, a freshman musical theatre major from North Little Rock, Ark., as Catwoman; Timothy Drennan, a senior musical theatre major from Paron, Ark., as Joseph Swane; Jacob Sturgeon, a senior musical theatre major from Pine Bluff, Ark., as Xavier Cassidy; and Lacey Johnson, a senior history and theatre arts major from Little Rock, Ark., as Ghost Fancier.
The Townspeople/Waiters are played by Blaine Surber, a senior musical theatre major from Sulphur Springs, Texas; Shannon Huntsman, a junior speech communication major from Little Rock, Ark.; and Jessica Smith, a junior musical theatre major from Van Buren, Ark.
The Ghost Band includes Nat Williams, a sophomore music theory and composition major from Little Rock, Ark.; Emily Shull, a freshman theatre arts major from Little Rock, Ark.; and Annelise Henley, a senior history, psychology and graphic design major from Arkadelphia, Ark.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.obu.edu/boxoffice or contact the OBU Box Office from 1-5 p.m. on weekdays at (870) 245-5555. Ouachita students get one free ticket with their current OBU ID.
Ouachita Baptist University will honor Mary Shambarger, professor emerita of music, at the fourth annual Stepping Up for Ouachita luncheon on Friday, Nov. 8 at Chenal Valley Country Club in Little Rock. The luncheon will begin at 12 noon, preceded by a reception at 11:30 a.m.
“Stepping Up for Ouachita provides scholarships for women,” said Nicole Herndon, an OBU development officer and coordinator of this year’s event. “As a private Christian institution, Ouachita relies on those who believe in our mission – to provide its students with a first class education from a university that consistently is ranked by U.S. News and Forbes magazines among the top schools in the nation.”
“Raising funds and awareness for females to be educated at Ouachita is very important since more than half of our students are women,” added Terry Peeples, OBU vice president for development.
Shari Edwards will serve as chair for this year’s Stepping Up for Ouachita event. Edwards, who attended Ouachita from 1981 to 1984, was a piano major, a member of the EEE women’s social club and a member of the Ouachi-tones. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock in 1985 with majors in public relations and journalism.
Edwards serves as the Advisory Board chair of Ouachita’s Pruet School of Christian Studies, serves on the Women’s Enrichment Ministry Team of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and teaches children’s choir at Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock. She and her husband, Andy, a 1983 Ouachita graduate, are the parents of three sons: Jake, a 2013 OBU graduate; John, a junior at Ouachita; and Jason, age 14.
“This event is very dear to me,” Edwards said. She noted that her decision to attend Ouachita was based on the scholarship funds she received.
In addition to providing scholarship support, Stepping Up “serves to honor an outstanding Ouachita woman who has shown leadership, integrity, grace and faith over the years,” Edwards said.
This year’s honoree, Mary Shambarger, began serving in Ouachita’s Department of Music in 1966. A native of Morrilton, Ark., she earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Arkansas.
Upon her arrival at Ouachita, she formed and directed the Ouachi-Tones, an all-female choral ensemble that performed around the United States and abroad, serving as ambassadors for Ouachita. In 1991, she restructured the group and formed the Ouachita Sounds, an ensemble involving both women and men that remains active today.
“Leading that choral group has become one of my biggest legacies at Ouachita,” Shambarger said. “Even though it’s been many years, we still have a big, close bond today.” To pay tribute to that legacy, the Ouachita Sounds will perform at the luncheon.
Throughout her more than 30 years of service at Ouachita, Shambarger held a variety of positions. She served as chair of the Applied Music Department and coordinator of voice. She also served as the Arkansas governor of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and was Ouachita’s representative for the Arkansas Women of Higher Education.
“For over 30 years, she devoted herself, her time and her incredible talent investing in the lives of countless students,” Edwards said.
Shambarger retired in 1998 as the Lena Goodwin Trimble Professor of Music. That same year, the Mary Shambarger Competition for Singers was established and continues to be held on Ouachita’s campus each February.
“Ouachita meant so much to me,” she reflected. “It was a job I loved; I loved going to work.”
Shambarger currently lives in Bentonville, Ark., near her daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, Dr. Steve Goss (both OBU graduates). She has two grandsons, Chad and Jake. She is an active member of First Baptist Church of Bentonville.
Tickets for the 2013 Stepping Up for Ouachita luncheon are $125 each with a limited number of tickets still available. For more information about attending or serving as a sponsor of this year’s event, contact email@example.com or (870) 245-5169.