Memories of Vietnam topic of first theatre production at Northwestern

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Memories of Vietnam topic of first theatre production at Northwestern

September 22, 2009

Vietnam 101 logoThe first theatre production presented by the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Fine Arts Department is “Vietnam 101: The War on Campus,” on Oct. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. in Herod Hall Auditorium.

Tickets for the show are $3 for Northwestern students with current university ID cards; $5 for Northwestern employees, and $6 for the general public.

“Vietnam 101: The War on Campus” by Rich Orloff is a documentary theater piece about one college community's journey during the Vietnam War years. Based on recollections of more than 100 students at Oberlin College in Ohio, the play recreates a time when people were asking the same questions that are being asked today about the government and what responsibilities those in the public hold.

Combining monologues with Story Theater-type scenes, the play covers the years 1964 to 1970, from Lyndon Johnson's promise not to expand the war (and early, well-behaved protests) to Kent State (when the entire campus shut down), and finally an epilogue from the present.

Because the information for this production is taken from a college campus in Ohio, Kimberly Weast, associate professor of theatre and director of the show, thought it would be interesting to have people share their memories and stories about what it was like at Northwestern during this time. A blog area has been established at to let Northwestern alumni, employees and community members post their thoughts and memories from that period in time. Memories could be from the perspective of students or employees who were on campus at that time, as well as from anyone who was on campus, left for the war, and came back, or from a community member who just remembers what it was like in northwest Oklahoma during that time.

“I want to get Northwestern and the community involved in looking back to how we were in the 1960s,” Weast said. “I would like to hear from alumni, faculty and staff, and community members. It would be great to see a large turnout of alumni and employees who were here then, return to campus for the production, and even more exciting would be to have these individuals available for a discussion after the performance to show how Northwestern was the same or different than the students we portrayed in the production.”

For anyone who would like to share their memories but do not have access to the Internet to post on the blog, written memories can be sent to Weast at 709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717.

More than 30 Northwestern students are involved in the Vietnam production. Cast and crew members, their hometowns, classifications and majors follow:

Charlie Burns, Sayre senior majoring in speech/theatre; Lisa Bradt, Alva senior, speech/theatre; Ashlynn Walker, Perryton, Texas, junior, speech/theatre; Bob Gilliland, Masham junior, conservation law enforcement; A.J. Bohlmann, Hooker junior, instrumental music education; Becky Burke, Oilton junior, mass communications; Ashley Schmitz, Laverne sophomore, music education; Tyler Shafer, Cherokee sophomore, speech/theatre; Carrissa Meade, Okeene junior, English education; Courtney Porter, Guthrie sophomore, elementary education; Stuart Campbell, Woodward freshman, speech/theatre; Dana Miller, Alva sophomore, vocal music education; Keith Thomason, Blanchard senior, business administration; Kasey Russell, Texhoma junior, elementary education; Charly Roach, Texhoma junior, elementary education.

Also, Kristy Benson, Cherokee sophomore, speech/theatre; Kyle Newland, Blackwell junior, music; Chris Shirley, Perryton, Texas, freshman, business administration; Timothy Bolin, Stratford freshman, mathematics education; Ethan Zollinger, Laverne freshman, history education; John Holley, Ponca City junior, technical management; Jackie Prim, Kingfisher freshman, speech/theatre; Ashley Pittman, Kingfisher freshman, speech/theatre; Kevin Gottman, Tuttle sophomore, music; Cory Kerr, Conway Springs, Kan., junior, music; Alishia Holdeman, Fairview freshman, social work.

Also, Jason Isaacson, Malta, N.Y., senior, general studies; Josh Huckabee, Prescott, Ariz., senior, history; Kyle Bentley, Shattuck sophomore, mass communications; Jennifer Chaffin, Alva freshman, special education; Tony Prien, Cherokee freshman, psychology; Joe Perez, Houston junior, mass communications; Milton Mitchell, Katy, Texas, freshman, history education; CheoungSik Woo, Incheon, South Korea, junior, business administration; Jason Paris, Northwestern alumnus teaching in Cherokee; and Garrett Starks, Cherokee High School junior.

For more information on the production or the theatre department, contact Weast at (580) 327-8462 or