By Shannon Flynn


Acting Out! explores themes of power and control in a three-night staged reading of “Oleanna” at Daly Theater in Lawrence.

“My goal is to rock their world,” said leading actor Steve Blackwood, a former “Days of Our Lives” star who is reprising the role of John.

Blackwood said he hopes each audience member will walk away having found a piece of him or herself within the characters.

David Mamet’s “Oleanna” tells the story of John, a college professor, who finds himself in conflict with his student, Carol (portrayed by Acting Out!’s own Maura Daly).

Carol believes she has been sexually harassed by John and brings it to the attention of the tenure committee — putting John on the verge of losing his tenure, and Carol in control.

“It’s a play about power,” Blackwood said.

Linda Schoonmaker, director and co-founder of the nonprofit Acting Out!, hopes these readings will attract new audience members given the play’s controversial and thought-provoking nature.

“This play is special. Not everyone walks away with the same feeling,” said Schoonmaker, who has read the script several times. “I have a different feeling each time.”

Performances will be held at Acting Out!’s Daly Theater in Lawrence and at the end of each one, actors, the director and special guests will host a question-and-answer session with the audience, exploring the play’s themes.