Toy Cart promises familiar, exotic audience experience

Three theatre arts majors, Yaya Dreisker (left), a freshman from Tokyo, Callison Vaughan (center), a senior from Lawton, and Cord Courtney (right), a freshman from Blanchard, rehearse a scene from the upcoming production of The Toy Cart. A two-night show, the production is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 27 and 28 in the USAO Ballroom.

Toy Cart promises familiar, exotic audience experience


It will be a theater experience like none other ever performed at the University of Science and Arts – one play, staged over two nights, with the audience immersed in colorful costuming and props, incense, soft lighting, music, dance and food.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on March 27 and 28, the USAO Theatre Arts program is scheduled to present The Toy Cart in the USAO Ballroom.

The play will be presented for the public only once in its entirety, due to the length and complexity of performance. A single ticket provides entry to one or both nights, but seating will be limited to 130 per evening.

The story follows a complicated romance between a kind courtesan and a poor but virtuous man. This plot was loosely adapted in the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge, which changed the setting, but preserved the original Indian characters in the musical theatre production within the film.

The Toy Cart is an accessible classic play from Ancient India from a style known as Sanskrit theatre and is suitable for audience members of all ages.

In the spirit of the theatre tradition from which the play emerges, the audience will be treated to a fully immersive experience. Audience members will have the choice of viewing the play from a comfortable cushion on the floor or from more conventional chair seating.

Audience members purchasing tickets in advance will have a choice of seating while options last.

Tickets are $15 general admission and can be purchased from Davis in room 106c of Davis Hall or at the door on the night of the show on a first-come, first-served basis.

USAO students, faculty, staff and members of the USAO Alumni Association can pick up free tickets in advance. 

Due to the extra rigors of performing in this play, cast members and students were given the opportunity to take four classes to complement the production including a workshop in Sanskrit theatre; an oral interpretation class related to Sanskrit poetry; a dance course focusing on Sanskrit dance styles, which are still used as part of Bollywood films; and World Thought and Culture which discusses the philosophy, religion and history of India.

In all, 13 USAO students are serving in crew positions and 20 student cast members (representing six majors) play multiple roles in this romantically comic and often poetic piece that will remind audience members of The Arabian Nights or Aladdin.

The cast also features a cameo appearance by second grader, Zane Zhidov, son of two USAO alumni, making his debut, and a special “bit part” appearance by choreographer Emily Hector.

Scenery for the play is being designed by Carrie Chavers, the art teacher at Chickasha High School and adjunct instructor for USAO.

Scenery construction is headed by Martin Reding and costume design is by Lucia Martinez, 2012 graduate of the USAO Art Program. 

Katie Davis, associate professor of theatre arts, directs.

More information about the show can be obtained by calling 574-1310.