The lobby of Stilwell Theatre at Texarkana College was abuzz with activity this weekend as Texarkana Repertory Company (TexRep) in association with Texarkana College opened its fall play, The Outsiders.
“This is a joint production between TexRep, the Texarkana Repertory Company, and the Texarkana College Department of Drama,” said Alex Rain, VP of Marketing for TexRep. “Our plays run two weekends so you haven’t missed it and you won’t want to.”
As patrons filed out of the performance, the feeling was somber and thoughtful about what they’d just witnessed. “Incredible!” and “Amazing!” were peppered throughout the crowd as they greeted each other and the cast after the show.
Sharon Kelley attended the Saturday night performance and said, “This story was so moving and still relevant today. How a young boy deals with being unwanted in society? It’s just something we still need to work on. I’m so glad TexRep chose to do this show and everyone needs to see it.”
The Outsiders will wrap up its run this weekend, November 10, 11 and 12. Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm and Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm. Based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, which is required reading for many high school and middle school students, the classic story of two rival gangs clashing in a small Oklahoma town in the early-mid 1960s comes to vivid life on the stage.
According to Director Michael Cooper, the play was chosen to fill what he calls “TexRep’s educational slot”, where he likes to stage productions that are appealing to high school students whom he describes as having an “unmet need for theatre in the community.” As with other previous TexRep shows with educational appeal, the theatre group stages additional weekday matinee performances specifically for area schools to attend, which also afford students the opportunity to discuss the play with the cast and director with Q&A sessions after the performances.
Due to strong demand for The Outsiders, TexRep expanded this show’s educational schedule to accommodate a total of four matinee performances compared to the usual two for this production slot. “Everyone’s an Outsiders,” Cooper responds, when asked about the story’s enduring appeal. “And everyone is looking to find their place to fit in.”
The play features some familiar TexRep faces, as well as a number of new young talents. Scenic designer Christopher Polson’s minimalist set with its fluid sliding fences and buildings effectively convey each location while also keeping the action moving and suggesting the passing of time and distance.
For more information on The Outsiders and to purchase tickets online visit TexRep.org or members can reserve at 903-831-STAR (7827)