Sul Ross State University’s theatre program opens its 96th season with a staged reading of “Building the Wall,” Friday-Saturday, Sept. 22-23, in Marshall Auditorium.
   Written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright Robert Schenkkans, “Building the Wall” was a response to the 2016 Presidential election and addresses immigration policy. The two-person, 80-minute staged reading features Gloria, a university professor (Cierra Noel, Houston), conducting a prison interview with an inmate Rick (Cory Hill, Alpine).
   Nightly performances began at 8:15 p.m. Limited seating (about 80) will be on the stage itself. Tickets are $5 for adults, with Sul Ross students, faculty and staff admitted free with ID. A question and discussion period, moderated by Dr. Esther Rumsey, will follow each performance. Parental discretion is advised due to mature language and situations.
   “Schenkkans takes the current issues to the next level, including a futuristic terrorist attack on Times Square, implementation of martial law, internment of millions of immigrants and eventual impeachment of the President,” said director Dona Roman, Sul Ross professor of Theatre.
“The play essentially picks up the pieces of what happened, addresses conflicts of culture and race in America and does a good job of presenting both points of view,” she said.
   Roman said the theatre department added “Building the Wall” to its 2017-2018 schedule through the influence of retired Sul Ross faculty member Ira Blanton, who was Schenkkans’ college roommate at the University of Texas at Austin. “Building the Wall” began a three-week run at UT-Austin Labor Day weekend and has premiered in New York and Denver.
   “Sul Ross is the first border university to perform the play. We were pursued to do it for a while and I feel it is an important piece of dramatic literature,” Roman said.
   For tickets or more information, call (432) 837-8218 or visit

                           Gloria (Cierra Noel) and Rick (Cory Hill) in “Building the Wall.” (Photo courtesy Dona Roman)