TheatreOCU’s first production of the semester will use sets and costumes in black and white to represent a colorless world.
The show is a stage adaptation of the book The Giver by Lois Lowry, which also has been turned into a major motion picture.
The story follows “Jonas,” a young boy growing up in a utopian society. Upon turning 12, the youth of the community are assigned their career paths, and Jonas is chosen for special training with the Giver. He must hold the memories and the pain of his community, learning the harsh reality of life.
The Giver is a coproduction between TheatreOCU and the Oklahoma Children’s Theater. OCT is a professional children’s theater company for Oklahoma. Each year, TheatreOCU and OCT collaborate on one mainstage show. Past shows include And Then They Came for Me and Jackie and Me.
“It’s really compelling for all audiences, including young audiences, because it’s easy to relate to characters when they’re your age,” said Courtney DiBello, director of The Giver.
“But they’re struggling with big issues, not just ‘how to wear the right jeans,’ but becoming more awake and realizing the people around them have lost their humanity.”
Morgan Haney, music theater sophomore, plays “Fiona,” “Jonas’s” close friend.
“It’s a very creative team, and we are trying to stay as true to the book as possible,” Haney said.
The original play adaptation of the novel cuts scenes from the book. TheatreOCU’s production will reintroduce the otherwise removed passages.
“It’s difficult to truncate an epic novel into a one act play. Parts had to be eliminated, but my worry was that it would become too brief and the audience wouldn’t care about the characters,” DiBello said. “The memory scenes will be a visual and wordless representation with movement pieces to supplement the experiences.”
The show opens at 11 a.m. Thursday in Burg Theater in Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center.
Audiences will have nine opportunities to see the show through Feb. 13.
Tickets are on sale in the box office in the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Art Management or through the OCT website at http://www.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org/tickets/814. Student tickets are $10 and general admission is $12.
The cast of The Giver recorded a video to promote their show, where they condensed the performance to one minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCsgal7BwgQ&feature=youtu.be.