Ouachita Baptist University’s department of theatre arts is set to serve up some entertainment in “You Have to Serve Somebody,” by Arkansan Werner Trieschmann. The show will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4-6 and Nov. 8-9, and a 2:30 p.m. matinee will be performed Nov. 7. All shows will be in Verser Theatre on Ouachita’s campus, and tickets are $6 each.
“I’m excited that we’re producing one of Werner’s plays,” said Mary Handiboe, the Ouachita associate professor of theatre arts serving as director of the production. “This will give our students the rare opportunity to interact with their author as they seek to bring his quirky characters to life.
“Werner has done a fantastic job capturing, in a humorous way, real people with real issues,” Handiboe added. “Each audience member is sure to find someone onstage to connect with.”
Trieschmann, a former OBU theatre intern from the early 1990s, currently lives in Little Rock and works as a journalist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He also teaches playwriting at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. Trieschmann’s close proximity has allowed him to interact with Handiboe, and he hopes to sit in on at least one rehearsal. He will attend the production the same evening that representatives of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival will be present to respond to the show.
The production depicts the interconnected whirlwind of quirky characters and events in three distinct restaurants: the Epee, which specializes in new American cuisine; Taco Circus, a Mexican restaurant where the employees juggle sopapillas tableside; and Waves of Grain, an all-American cafe. The quirky cast of characters ranges from a Texas art dealer to an eccentric older couple and an uncontrollable hypochondriac.
“I think the show is going to be a lot of fun because the comedy relies on the humor of action,” said Sam Spradling, a junior theatre arts major from Italy, Texas, who plays Denny Standard in the play. “When you see it performed, the comedy really comes out.
“Through this process I’ve learned that you have to let the words do their job,” she added. “The author made it funny; it’s your job (as the actor) to perform it.”
“The cast has worked diligently … and have grown significantly and blended well as an ensemble, which is what our work is all about,” Handiboe noted.
In addition to Spradling, the cast includes: Timothy Drennan, a freshman musical theatre major from Little Rock, Ark., as Hector Hazada; Kathryn Kellogg, a junior musical theatre and mass communications double major from Sherwood, Ark., as Cassandra Hooper; Jody Lee, a senior music and theatre arts double major from Arlington, Texas, as Marvin Standard; Molly Brown, a senior musical theatre major from Rowlett, Texas, as Millie Standard; Katelyn Helton, a sophomore musical theatre major from Grand Prairie, Texas, as Abilene Hipps; Joe Ochterbeck, a freshman theatre, kinesiology and education triple major from Maumelle, Ark., as Harvey Gold; and Katie Whillhite, a senior theatre arts and Christian studies double major from Rowlett, Texas, as Sandy Gold. Lee also serves as scenic designer for the show.
Daniel Inouye, Ouachita assistant professor of theatre arts, will serve as costume and makeup supervisor. Eric Phillips, Ouachita professor of theatre arts, will serve as lighting designer, technical director and scene design supervisor. Adam Wheat, Ouachita box office manager, is in charge of poster and program design. Ashley Partridge, a senior musical theatre major from Baton Rouge, La., serves as costume designer, and Jacob Watson, a senior musical theatre major from Wynne, Ark., serves as sound designer.
Many additional Ouachita students also work as part of the crew. Doug Brady, the soundboard operator, is a senior musical theatre major from Saginaw, Texas. Lauren Casteel, the properties crew head for food props, is a senior musical theatre major from Garland, Texas. Cessany Ford, the stage manager, is a senior theatre arts major from Paragould, Ark. Rudy Jones, the master lighting electrician, is a junior theatre arts and mass communications double major from Smackover, Ark. Jillian Kaniss, the properties crew head for non-food props, is a freshman psychology major from Texarkana, Texas. Michelle Lackey, a sophomore musical theatre major from Decatur, Texas, is costume crew head. Steven Miller, the lighting board operator, is a senior theatre arts major from Arlington, Texas. Moriah Patterson, the properties master building crew head, is a junior musical theatre and education double major from Sheridan, Ark. The makeup crew head is Courtnee Stewart, a senior theatre arts major from Ward, Ark. Alyssa Thomas, the publicity crew head, is a freshman musical theatre major from Malvern, Ark. Heather White, the front of house manager, is a sophomore musical theatre major from Houston, Texas. The assistant stage manager is Garrett Whitehead, a freshman theatre arts major from Cleburne, Texas.
Tickets are $6 each and may be purchased by visiting the Jones Performing Arts Center Box Office weekdays from 2-5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.obu.edu/finearts. Students with an OBU ID may receive one free ticket for the show. For more information, call the box office at (870) 245-5563 during business hours.
By Kathryn Kellogg