Northwestern student's one-act play makes debut

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Northwestern student's one-act play makes debut

September 28, 2010 

The one-act play “Nowhere Fast,” written and directed by Northwestern Oklahoma State University senior Ashlynn Walker, will debut next week. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 7 and 8, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in Herod Hall Auditorium.

Cost for general admission is $5. Northwestern students, with a student ID, can attend for $1, and Northwestern faculty and staff can attend for $3, with a Northwestern ID.

The play focuses on a family from Northern Texas that is dealing with the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

“It deals with loss, broken dreams and the sometimes short-lived hope of getting out,” said Walker, a native of Perryton, Texas.

Walker was inspired to write the play during a trip to visit relatives.

“I was actually riding in the passenger seat of my car on the way to my aunt’s (house) with my computer on my lap when … I drove past an abandoned farm in the middle of nowhere,” Walker said. “As I glanced out the window, I saw the moon shining through the windmill, and suddenly, I saw an empty space onstage and a beam of light.”

Like many creative directors, Walker envisioned a character stepping into that light.

“That was it,” Walker said. “Twenty minutes later I had written a 10-minute play.”

She entered the 10-page production into the Kennedy Center Playwright Intensive program to be considered for their summer program and was accepted.

“I thought I was finished with the story, but as cliché as it sounds, the story wasn’t through with me,” Walker said. “This last summer, I took the 10-minute (play) and turned it into the one-act we are performing.”

Starring in the play are Tali McDonald, Alva sophomore, who plays Mary Suzanna; Sara Acosta, Woodward freshman, plays Virginia Louise; Bob Gilliland, Alva senior, plays Harlen States Sr.; Kasey Russell, Texhoma senior, plays Daisy Mae States; Charlie Burns, Sayre senior, plays Harlen States Jr.; Kimberly Weast, associate professor of theatre at Northwestern, plays Aunt Rose; and Jason Starbuck, Laverne senior, plays “The Producer.”

Stage Manager is Chris Shirley, Perryton, Texas, sophomore. Kristy Benson, Cherokee junior, is assistant stage manager.

“Nowhere Fast” is the third play Walker has written. She currently is working on three additional projects, including a musical and two more 10-minute plays. Her work earned her the Dr. Linda Stewart Shining Star Award during the Spring 2010 semester. Award recipients for the Shining Star Award are nominated and selected through Castle Players and by the Fine Arts Department faculty.

Directing and designing every aspect of the play – from lighting and costume design to makeup and set production – fulfill specific requirements for Walker’s degree. She will graduate in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in speech and theatre.