Woodward, Okla. —
Director Charlie Burns said things are coming together for OnStage Woodward's fast approaching first contest performance, but one thing is still needed: an audience.
"We need an audience to be able to gauge reactions and receive feedback in order to prepare the performers and crew members for the competition," Burns said.
That is why Burns has scheduled local performances on July 7 and July 8 for the contest piece, which is actually "2 one-act plays put together." The performances will start at 7:30 p.m. each day in the Woodward Arts Theatre.
The local performances are set just days before Burns will take his cast and crew to Duncan to compete in the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association's annual play festival, OCTAFest, July 10-13.
Burns said he understands that the early week performance dates "may seem odd. But we want to use our Woodward performances as a dress rehearsal scenario for the competition. That's why we wanted them as close to the competition as possible."
ABOUT THE PLAYS
The first play is titled "Graceland" and is set outside the front entrance to Elvis Presley's mansion 3 days before the estate is to be opened to the public in 1982, Burns said.
"Basically there are these 2 Elvis Presley fans, Bev and Rootie, who are camped outside the gates and each is determined to be the first one to enter," he said.
He described Bev's character, played by Carol Mote, as a middle-aged woman who wears wigs and too much make-up and who exudes a "brassy down-home style." While Rootie, played by Liz Gay, is "young and shy and somewhat intimidated by Bev."
The juxtaposition between the 2 female fans makes for a "hilarious and heartwarming" story, Burns said.
Set in Louisiana in the early 1970s, the second play is titled "Asleep on the Wind" and is a prequel to "Graceland," although it is performed after, Burns said.
"It gives you insight into Rootie's love for Elvis and into her family," he said.
Like "Graceland," "Asleep on the Wind" also features 2 characters, but this time it's a young Rootie and her older brother Beau, portrayed by Sara Acosta and Greg Nuse respectively.
Burns said he believes the story told through both plays will pull on the audience's heartstrings.
"These shows are both entertaining and touching," he said. "And I think our audience will really enjoy them."