Theater majors Jana Latchaw and Jacob Christiansen, under the direction of Professor Karen Barker, will be performing their production of “Oleanna,” on Friday, Oct. 10, and Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Old Factory.
Both performances will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the upstairs of the building. There will be limited seating, and admission is free. The show is approximately 90 minutes long. This includes an intermission during which sophomore Will Norris will be playing music.
“Oleanna” is a two-person drama in three acts, written by David Mamet.
“The play, uber simplified, is about a professor who may or may not have sexually abused his student,” Barker said.
Set within this conflict, the underlying theme of the story is about how power is distributed and is used to control and dictate situations.
“It is not an easy play, not one to bring your children to. But it is definitely one that will prompt good conversation and debate,” Barker said. “It’s an incredibly timely thing,” referring to the recent change in the interpretation of the I-9 laws.
“Oleanna” brings up some interesting and difficult topics that should be talked about. There will be a discussion directly following the performance to allow the audience time to process the themes of the play.
The artists involved want the audience to have the opportunity to openly and civilly talk about the uncomfortable topics.
The three theater artists are doing the production independent from NW’s theater department, and formed The Kettle Wave Theatre Company in order to gain rights to the script.
The actors first saw the production at the American College Theater Festival (ACTF) this past year in Lincoln, Neb.
They fell in love with the script and the story; and knew they wanted to perform the work themselves.
Though Barker is the director, the process has been a collaboration from all three.
“It has been a collaborative effort, but Karen is guiding us in the right direction,” Latchaw said.
Karen commented on how impressed she was with the motivation of both actors to present their work, and remarked on how they have risen to the challenge of performing such a deep, difficult story.
She has watched both young actors grow immensely in their time at NW and is excited that they are at a point where they are willing to tackle just about any project.