The One Act Play That Went Right: The Return of OKWU’s Theatre Program

by Jazmine Cooper

During last year’s spring semester, Oklahoma Wesleyan hosted the return of the theatre program with the performance of The One Act Play that Goes Wrong, a comedy that left the audience rolling with laughter. During the play about the murder at Haversham Manor, the actors allowed for some crazy antics to happen for the audience’s benefit. These included throwing wads of shredded paper to represent a terrible snowstorm, spitting up some nasty tasting sarsaparilla, and some pretty serious stunts. While the audience saw these things as accidents happening in the moment, the cast and crew had been preparing all semester for this.  

For the class called Stagecraft, the cast and crew were assigned their parts in January and worked all of the spring semester to make sure that the gags appeared sudden and unplanned, even though they had been well-thought-out and practiced. Those gags included dragging freshman Kylie Bostwick through a window, wall decorations falling down, and a fire. These were all planned well in advance, but the cast made the audience believe it was happening in real-time, as if the play had gone horribly wrong. This was director Evan Hewitt’s hope, as he advertised the play as The Murder at Haversham Manor, the play within the actual one act play.  

The show was a huge success according to the audience. Reviews stated: “Best play I’ve ever seen,” “That’s the funniest play I’ve ever seen,” and “I haven’t laughed that hard in years.” Many audience members announced that they could not stop laughing the whole show. One particular woman made an impression on Director Hewitt. She looked him in the eyes and said, “I cannot tell you how much I needed to laugh like that.”  

There is something so powerful, almost spiritual, in laughter. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (NIV). No matter what we go through in our lives, God provides us with joys that can uplift us. This play was a joy to the OKWU and Bartlesville community that brought good medicine. Hewitt is hoping that this semester’s production does the same.  

Stagecraft is shifting genres for their performance this fall; they are tackling Little Women, with a script derived from the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott. Director Hewitt is very excited about where this semester is headed for the class. “I was drawn to Little Women because of the community aspect. Community is really the fabric of our lives.” He went on to say that he felt it important to choose a show that was going to celebrate people fighting through their differences and still remaining a family.  

We are all excited to see how Stagecraft brings this amazing story to life. Please be praying that they are healthy and productive in their rehearsals, and that God’s presence is overflowing in the program!