Indiana University undergraduate theater majors Kerry Ipema and Mark Banik describe themselves as very good friends.
In Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! they play the cowboy Curly McLain and the local girl, Laurey Williams. And they get to be more than friends.
Ipema notes that, “We were in the developmental theater project of “Night Boy and Day Girl,” but were just weren’t on stage much together.”
“Yes,” says Banik, “Here, we play opposite one another and it’s really nice to be able to play off each another and to share the work.”
Both Banik and Ipema have interesting things to say about their roles.
Banik says that although the cowboy drifter Curly is very much in love there’s intelligence about his courtship.
“Curly knows that despite Laurey’s independence, she needs things and so that’s why he invents that famous fancy surrey.”
Ipema is equally insightful about Laurey.
“In our production, she’s an independent woman, a woman who works. She may be in love, but she doesn’t want to be any man’s property. Laurey is a woman very much before her time, maybe a prefeminist, feminist.”
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! plays April 17th and 18th and the 21st through the 25th (2009) on the Ruth N. Halls stage at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center in a production directed by George Pinney.
Listen to WFIU’s George Walker’s review of Oklahoma!