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Bowie State University Theatre Presents David Mamet's Controversial "OLEANNA"

March 9, 2012

(BOWIE, Md.)--Bowie State University Theatre will explore sexual harassment and the imbalance of power in student-professor relationships in a production of David Mamet's OLEANNA, a two-person play about a professor accused of sexual violation by his younger female student. The play runs March 15-18 on the Bowie State University campus at the Fine and Performing Arts Center's Black Box Theater.  

"This play speaks to very controversial subjects in higher education, sexual harassment and relationships between professors and students," says Dr. Gail S. Medford, professor and co-coordinator of Bowie State University's theater program in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. "Professors have a lot of power over the futures of their students. We hope this play will stimulate discussion about sexual harassment, apparent power, and how professors' words and actions, both in and out of the classroom, may be perceived and acted upon by students."

OLEANNA premiered in 1992 and has been described as an impassioned response to the controversy and conversations generated by Anita Hill's sexual harassment testimony during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The play has been produced numerous times both on and off-Broadway.  

The Bowie State production of OLEANNA stars Crystal Roberts, a junior theater major from Landover, Md., as the student, Carol, and Carlton Curtis, a senior English major from Beltsville, Md., as the professor, John. Dr. Medford is the play's director.  

OLEANNA will be the first Bowie State theater production in the university's new $71 million Fine and Performing Arts Center.  The center opened in January 2012 and features 123,000 square-feet of space for students and faculty. The new building houses Bowie State's art, music, music technology, theatre arts, and visual communication and digital media arts programs.

Performances start on Thursday, March 15 and run through Sunday, March 18 at the following times:

  • Thursday, March 15 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Friday, March 16 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m.

The 11 a.m. March 15 showing includes a special "talk-back" question and answer session with the cast and the director.

The 3 p.m. March 16 showing is targeted to faculty, staff and administrators and will feature a post-performance panel discussion about sexual harassment co-sponsored by Bowie State's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Bowie State theater program.

Tickets for the play are $10 for the general public and $5 for students, faculty, staff and seniors. The play is not appropriate for children.

OLEANNA's author, David Mamet, is an award-winning American playwright, essayist, screenwriter and film director. In addition to OLEANNA, Mamet is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1984) and his Tony-nominated play "Speed-the-Plow" (1988).

For more information, please contact the theater box office at 301-860-3717.


Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The University places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit the website at