'Rumors' Ewing's Final
Her directing career began with a Neil Simon play, and ended with a Neil Simon play. Dejon Ewing, who began her teaching career in 1972 at Arkansas City High School on the same soil she teaches now, directed her 26th and final production at Cowley County Community College when the Act One drama students performed “Rumors” March 1-3 in the Robert Brown Theatre.
Ewing began her theatrical directing career with Simon’s “Barefoot In The Park” at ACHS. She took over the theatre department there in 1973 and taught at the school until 1977. It was in the old high school where the Brown Center for Arts, Sciences and Technology stands today.
She remembers her first day at ACHS as if it were yesterday. “My first day of teaching was my birthday, Aug. 28,” Ewing recalls. “I was standing out in the hallway watching the students go by and I got more and more nervous. I got so nervous I rushed to the bathroom and threw up. When I got to class, I went through my lesson plan for the entire week and gave them a tour of the stage, all in one hour. I talked so fast. The next day I asked the students if they got anything that I had said the day before. Later, they told me they’d never heard anyone talk so fast.”
“Rumors” is a farce with five male and five female actors. The story goes like this: Four couples are at the townhouse of a deputy New York City mayor and his wife to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. The party never begins because the host has shot himself in the head (it’s only a flesh wound) and his wife is missing. His lawyer’s cover-up gets progressively more difficult to sustain as the other guests arrive and nobody can remember who has been told what about whom. Doors slam and hilarity abounds as the couples get more and more crazed. “It’s very funny, very fast-paced with a lot of witty dialogue and lots of door slamming,” Ewing said. “This eclectic group of people get together to create humor, and there’s a surprise ending.” The cast of “Rumors”: Ken Gorman: Matt Broderick, Wichita; Chris Gorman: Samaria Bowling, Norman, Okla.; Lenny Ganz: Mason Powell, Harper; Claire Ganz: Dena Jolley, Arkansas City; Ernie Cusack: Blake Stites, Prescott; Cookie Cusack: Amanda Krueger, Winfield; Glenn Cooper, Justin Goggans, Arkansas City; Cassie Cooper: Andrea Lazcano, Mulvane; Officer Welch: Matt Hendershot, Arkansas City; Officer Pudney: Bobbie Meek, Arkansas City; Stage Manager: Lindsay Ramirez, Arkansas City. “The cast is young with only two real experienced actors,” Ewing said of Bowling and Meek. “It’s taken a little longer to get things going, but it’s coming along nicely. They will end up being very proud of what they did.”
Ewing said Cowley’s reputation for having a renowned theatre department is a credit to the students. “They don’t even realize how good they are,” Ewing said. Ewing, chair of the Humanities Department, plans to focus on teaching after this semester. Ewing, whose husband is Doug Ewing, graduated from Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, where she was reared. She transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech and theatre education.
Act One Reunion In conjunction with her final production, Ewing has organized an Act One reunion. More than 200 former Cowley students were invited back for a get-together on the night of March 3. Ewing said she received several thoughtful e-mails from former students who couldn’t make it to the reunion, but who wanted to share their feelings about Cowley and their experience in theatre. “When you have former students say those things about you and the program and their memories of Cowley, that’s what it’s all about,” Ewing said. “It really makes me proud to think that I may have had an impact on their lives. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career as a director. The memories will last for the rest of my life.”