OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Celebrated memoirist Nick Flynn to read at OSU on Oct. 11

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer Nick Flynn will read from his work on Friday, Oct. 11, at Oregon State University’s Valley Library rotunda. The free public event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

Flynn is the author of three memoirs including “The Reenactments” (2013), “The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment” (2010) and “Another … Night in Suck City” (2004). Flynn is also the author of three books of poetry.

Of Flynn’s most recent memoir, “The Reenactments,”  Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Flynn’s determination to better understand his life through the act of writing and remembering has yielded a truly insightful, original work.” Clea Simon of The Boston Globe said Flynn’s writing is “always specific and honest” and “dryly funny.”

His award-winning memoir “Another … Night in Suck City” was turned into the movie “Being Flynn,” starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano. That book recounted his unusual relationship with his alcoholic father and the suicide of his mother.

Flynn, 52, is a professor of poetry and married to actress Lili Taylor.

Flynn has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center.

The Visiting Writers Series brings nationally-known writers to Oregon State University. The program is made possible by support from The Valley Library, OSU Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music.

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Rachel Ratner, 516-652-5817

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NickFlynn
Nick Flynn

Author Paul Bogard to read from his book on Oct. 9

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Paul Bogard, author of “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light,” will read from his book on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. The reading begins at 7 p.m. at the library, located at 645 N.W. Monroe Ave., Corvallis.

The event is sponsored by Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word and Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

In his book, Bogard examines the night and how people experience it, traveling to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Walden Pond, and the Canary Islands to explore degrees of darkness. After talking to astronomers, lighting professionals, nurses, and other night-time workers, Bogard writes about the cultural, social and health implications of a night that’s getting brighter every minute, thanks in part to parking lot lights and streetlights.

Publishers Weekly wrote: “Even readers unable to tell Orion from the Big Dipper will find a new appreciation for the night sky after spending some time with this terrific book.”

A native of Minnesota, Bogard teaches creative nonfiction at James Madison University. He is also editor of the anthology “Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark.” 

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Carly Lettero, 541-737-6198

A single wave of migration led to population of the Americas, genetic research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A single wave of migration from Siberia brought people across the Bering Land Bridge and into the Americas no more than 23,000 years ago, with the group later splitting into two branches, a new study of ancient and modern genetic information has found.

Using genetic data from ancient and modern sources, researchers found that the ancestors of present-day Native Americans entered the Americas in one initial wave and then divided into two groups, known as Athabascans and Amerindians about 13,000 years ago.

The results were published this week in the journal Science.

The findings also indicate that the initial migration of Native American ancestors likely followed a route along the Pacific coast as they spread into the Americas. The northern branch, which included Amerindians as well as Athabascans, remained only in North America, while the southern branch, made up only of Amerindians, spread along the Pacific Rim through North and South America.

Researchers say the findings, which match closely with archaeological evidence from the period, clearly answer a much-debated question about how and when the Americas were first populated and counters ideas that migration to the Americas initially occurred in two waves.

“This means the Paleo American model is essentially dead,” said Loren Davis, an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University and co-author on the study. “There was no founding population that was replaced by a later influx of Native Americans. Nearly all native peoples in the Americas can trace their genetics to that first wave of migration.”

“It’s really exciting because these findings provide new archaeological implications for us to explore.”

The genetic study was led by Maanasa Raghavan and Eske Willerslev of the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

To determine the origins of today’s Native American people, researchers sequenced genomes from present-day individuals from the Americas, Siberia and Oceania and compared their genetics to those from ancient specimens from both branches of the migration.

Davis worked with the research geneticists to identify skeletons from northwestern Mexico that were tested as part of the study. The unusual skull shape of some of the skeletons was one factor that led some researchers to believe there were two waves of migration to the Americas, he said.

“Now we’re seeing that the metrics of skulls matters less than the genetics,” Davis said. “Our study shows that the skeletal morphology of ancient Americans doesn’t indicate the presence of different genetic populations unrelated to modern Native Americans.”

With the new findings in hand, Davis is looking at new avenues of archaeological research, including searching for evidence of when and how the original group of migrants split. One source of information is the types of stone tools used by the two groups, he said. There are two known traditions of tool-making that separate the two groups: the Western-Stemmed and Clovis Paleoindian traditions. The two technological traditions use different strategies to create stone tools, Davis said.

“The two genetic groups became the basic nexus for all the later Native American people,” Davis said. “This split between the two tool-making technologies may have been happening at the same time the two groups divided.”

Davis’ next project involves looking offshore for sites that may once have been home to early settlers in North America. Such sites were likely submerged in the post-Ice Age sea rise. Working with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Davis developed a predictive model to identify the potential distribution of archaeological sites submerged along the coast of the United States, in part by reconstructing the landscape and ancient river drainages that once existed during times of lower sea levels. In September, he and others will begin working offshore to find those sites.

“The implications of this study are significant for the archaeological problems I’m pursuing,” Davis said. “The study’s conclusion that the initial migration of Native American ancestors probably followed a Pacific coastal route of entry meant that we’re on the right track to make significant discoveries here in the Pacific Northwest.”  

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Loren Davis, 541-250-6304, loren.davis@oregonstate.edu

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Researcher Loren Davis

Paisley cave

Bard in the Quad at OSU celebrates 10th season with ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular Bard in the Quad program with a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in August.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. each night from Aug. 6-9 and Aug. 13-16 in the Memorial Union Quad, 2501 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.

Bard in the Quad brings innovative Shakespeare productions to Corvallis in a casual, fun summer atmosphere. Performances are held outdoors and no seating is provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets, warm clothing and even a picnic dinner if desired. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and no one will be seated prior to that time.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a comedy about confusion and love. Four days before their wedding, Duke Theseus and the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta are drawn into the romantic entanglements of four young lovers, a mysterious conflict between the King and Queen of the Fairy World, and the desperate attempts of an eager amateur acting troupe to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Meanwhile, a maverick sprite on the loose causes chaos throughout Athens and the surrounding woods.

The production will feature dance and a live performance by OSU Chamber Winds, which will present Felix Mendelssohn’s classic score.

The cast features Oregon State University students Elise Barberis  as Quince; Kolby Bathke as Flute; Diana Jepsen as Hippolyta/Titania; Jackson Lango as Snug; Claire McMorris as Mote; Bria Love Robertson as Helena; Mike Stephens as Snout; Kyle Stockdall as Lysander; Kelsea Vierra as Peaseblossom; Cory Warren as Egeus; and Joseph Workman as Theseus/Oberon.

The cast also features Corvallis community members Mason Atkin as Puck; Lucia Lind as Cobweb; Ariel Ginsburg as Starvling; Matthew Holland as Bottom; Anna Mahaffey as Fairy; Alycia Olivar as Hermia; Teri Straley as Mustardseed; and Brad Stone as Demetrius.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Purchase tickets at bardinthequad.org or call the OSU Theatre box office, 541-737-2784. A 20 percent discount will be offered on tickets purchased online before July 31.

Contact box office manager Arin Dooley at 541-737-2784 for questions regarding tickets, seating, group ticket discounts and other accommodations.

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OSU history professor elected to Council on Foreign Relations

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University history Professor Christopher McKnight Nichols has been elected to life membership on the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

Nichols is an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. He is an expert on U.S. history and its relationship to the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of isolationism, internationalism and globalization. Nichols is the author of numerous works, including “Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age,” which traces the origins of modern American isolationism and internationalism.

The Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, is an independent, nonpartisan organization that helps government, civic and religious leaders, business executives, educators and students better understand the world and foreign policy issues. It includes government officials, scholars, business executives, journalists, lawyers and nonprofit professionals.

“This comes as a surprise and is a humbling honor,” Nichols said. “Outside of the government, this is the highest level of conversation and access that you can have about foreign policy.”

Membership in the council offers the opportunity to meet shapers of foreign relations from the U.S. and around the world; contribute to discussions on contemporary topics by providing historical perspective and sparking new questions; and participate in task forces and other activities.

Nichols said he also hopes to identify ways to connect some of today’s most pressing subjects and policies, and the people who influence them, with his students and the OSU community.

“When I’m able to Skype with or bring in a visiting scholar or diplomat, it makes the issues more real and relevant to the students,” Nichols said. “When they’re able to speak with people who have been on the ground in a country where genocide occurred, it brings those concerns home to provoke new ways of thinking and relating past events with the present as well as the future.”

Nichols said this work will also influence the “Citizenship and Crisis” initiative he began at OSU in 2014. The project, launched to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I, set out to examine how the concept of citizenship has changed over time and in moments of crisis through a series of lectures and other events. It’s now centered on domestic and global aspects of citizenship, and is expected to continue in the 2015-16 academic year and beyond.

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Christopher McKnight Nichols, 541-737-8910, Christopher.nichols@oregonstate.edu

 

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Christopher McKnight Nichols

Christopher Nichols

Media advisory: Oregon State wildfire experts

MEDIA ADVISORY

The following Oregon State University faculty members have expertise related to wildfire issues and are willing to speak with journalists. Their specific expertise, and contact information, is listed below.  For help with other OSU faculty experts, contact Mark Floyd, 541-737-0788, mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu.

OSU wildfire experts

John Bailey, 541-737-1497, john.bailey@oregonstate.edu

Bailey studies the role of forest management in accomplishing landowner objectives, including fire resilience, habitat and restoration. His areas of expertise include:

  • Fuels management for fire risk reduction
  • Wildland fire ecology
  • Prescribed fire

Stephen Fitzgerald, 541-737-3562, stephen.fitzgerald@oregonstate.edu

Amy Jo Detweiler, 541-548-6088, amyjo.detweiler@oregonstate.edu

Detweiler and Fitzgerald are faculty members in the OSU Extension Service and co-authors of a publication, Fire-Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes, published in 2006 and due to be updated next year. They can discuss ways for homeowners to reduce fire risk to their homes.

  • Types of shrubs and trees that are less likely to burn
  • Maintenance tips for fire resistant plantings
  • Bark mulches and other ground covers
  • Fuel reduction around homes

 

Beverly Law, 541-737-6111, bev.law@oregonstate.edu

Law is a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and former Science Chair of the Ameriflux network. She studies carbon and water cycling in ecosystems and exchange with the atmosphere, including the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She has focused on, among other topics, the role of fire in the carbon cycle. She can comment on:

  • Modeling ecosystem responses to disturbances such as fire and insects
  • The effects of climate change, fire and forest management on carbon and water cycles
  • The combination of remote sensing and field observations to understand regional ecosystem processes

 

Claire Montgomery, 541-737-1362, claire.montgomery@oregonstate.edu

Montgomery studies the economic implications of fire management decisions, from the initial determination whether to let a fire burn or to put it out. She can address the likely impacts of fire management decisions on the value of timber and other forest resources in the future.

  • Incentives for cost-effective wildland fire management
  • Community considerations of forest fuel treatments
  • The opportunity costs of fire suppression

 

Roger Hammer, 541-760-1009, rhammer@oregonstate.edu

Hammer is a professor in the School of Public Policy and studies the interface between communities and undeveloped lands such as forests. He studies strategies to mitigate fire risk in the face of urban development. He can comment on:

  • U.S. demographic trends at the urban-wildland interface
  • Fire risk and development at the urban-wildland interface
  • New construction after a fire

Kathie Dello, 541-737-8927, kdello@coas.oregonstate.edu

Dello is the deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service and associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. She studies Pacific Northwest weather patterns and compiles reports for use by businesses and government agencies. She can comment on weather patterns as they influence fire risk, including:

  • Long-term trends in Pacific Northwest weather
  • The impact of landscape features (mountains, forests) on weather
  • Weather data collection by citizens

 

Compiled by Nick Houtman

541-737-0783, nick.houtman@oregonstate.edu

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Nick Houtman, 541-737-0783

Scottish explorer David Livingstone’s writings, drawings now available through online archive

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Students, researchers and the public will have extraordinary access to the drawings, letters and field diaries of Scottish explorer David Livingstone through an expanded digital archive and new website that is launching today.

The site, Livingstone Online, www.livingstoneonline.org, is the digital home for the documents chronicling the life and work of Livingstone, a missionary, physician and abolitionist best known for his travels in Africa in the mid-19th century.

“The original Livingstone documents are scattered all over the world – in Africa, Scotland, England and in private collections,” said Megan Ward, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and associate director of the Livingstone Online project. “There’s never been a single physical location for these documents. We wanted to come up with a more comprehensive archive.”

The project, directed by Adrian S. Wisnicki, assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska, is being funded by a three-year, $265,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The website for the digital archive is being hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles.

Livingstone’s work provides insight into globalization, imperialism and the role of the British Empire and life in Africa during that period. Many of the themes prevalent in Livingstone’s work continue to resonate today, said Ward, who teaches and researches Victorian literature. Livingstone is an icon of the era, she said – his work inspired questions of empire throughout the literature of that time.

“He was seen as a great hero then, though the lens of time changes people’s perspective of him and his work,” said Ward, who teaches in the School of Writing, Literature and Film in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “He left a complicated legacy. Due to his work to end the slave trade, he has been considered a freedom fighter for Africa, but his exploration also has been viewed as detrimental to Africa and its people.” 

The online archive was established in 2005 then dramatically expanded through a two-year, international collaboration among scholars, digital librarians, museum curators and others across the U.S., Scotland, England and South Africa. The beta version of the new, expanded site is being unveiled this week.

More than 7,500 original images of Livingstone’s writings can be found on the site and the archive is expected to expand to more than 12,000 images by 2016. The archive also includes drawings and illustrations depicting Livingstone’s work and findings.

Wisnicki and Ward have received another, $168,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant so they can use spectral imaging and processing technology to study one of Livingstone’s diaries in new ways.

“He ran out of paper and ink at one point and was writing on newspapers using ink made from local clothing dye,” Ward said.

Over time, the paper became fragile and the writing all but disappeared. The spectral imaging technology allows researchers to see the words that once were there. One illegible diary has already been restored using the technology.

The new grant will allow researchers to more closely examine a second, companion diary that is more legible. Researchers hope to use the spectral imaging technology to reveal other aspects of its history, such as how and when it was written, when pages were added and in what order the pages were assembled. That could provide further understanding of where and how Livingstone documented conflicts between Arab slave traders and the central African people, Ward said. 

The archive of Livingston’s work will serve as a resource for academic researchers as well as for students from elementary school through college. One section of the site contains outreach materials geared to students ages 9-13. Making the site compatible for use with mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones, is in future plans as well, Ward said.

“The digital images give these historical documents new life and make them available to a wider audience,” Ward said. “You can see flies that were smashed in notebooks, funny sketches, even drops of blood.”

To commemorate the launch of the new Livingstone Online site, Wisnicki and Ward are speaking this week at the British Library and the National Library of Scotland.

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Megan Ward, 541-737-1673, megan.ward@oregonstate.edu

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Lantern slide of Livingstone writing in his diary

Livingstone LanternSlide

Hand-drawn map from Livingstone's Field Diary

Livingstone Map

1871 Field Diary, unreadable

1871 Field Diary Unreadable

1871 Field Diary, spectrally-imaged to improve readability

1871 Field Diary Spectrally Imaged

OSU to celebrate iconic stick sculpture slated for removal this summer

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The large willow stick sculpture, “Pomp and Circumstance,” created by artist Patrick Dougherty in 2011 on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, will be removed this summer.

The College of Liberal Arts, which commissioned the temporary sculpture, will host a send-off party for the piece as part of graduation festivities. The celebration will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. June 12 in People’s Park on the west side of Gilkey Hall, 122 S.W. Waldo Place.

Students, staff, faculty and members of the public are invited to attend the event. Cuttings from the sculpture will be available to take home to plant and tags will be available to write send-off messages that will be attached to the sculpture.

“The piece’s ongoing popularity surprised everyone,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It has become a well-loved part of OSU’s identity, even though it was always meant to be ephemeral.”

Dozens of students and community volunteers helped Dougherty build the sculpture using willow sourced from local weavers in 2011. Expected to decay over time, the sculpture held up much longer than expected, but parts of it are beginning to sag, and it has become a potential hazard.

College of Liberal Arts officials plan to replace the sculpture with a “similarly exciting new installation that will continue to draw people to interact with our natural art,” Rodgers said.

“We recognize that Dougherty’s sculpture is a fixture on campus, and though we’re sad it has to go, we’re dedicated to keeping People’s Park a destination where students, community members and families can congregate, relax and explore,” he said.

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Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137, Celene.carillo@oregonstate.edu

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Patrick Dougherty's "Pomp and Circumstance"

sticksculptsnow1

Girls receive conflicting career messages from media, new research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Teenage girls like and feel more similar to women in appearance-focused jobs such as models and actresses, though they find female CEOs and military pilots to be better role models, according to a new study by researchers at Oregon State University.

For the study, 100 girls and 76 boys ages 14 to 18 were shown photographs of model Heidi Klum, actress Jennifer Aniston, CEO Carly Fiorina and military pilot Sarah Deal Burrow. Klum and Aniston represented the appearance-focused careers and Fiorina and Deal Burrow represented the non-appearance focused careers.

Girls generally rated the women in the appearance-focused careers higher on likeability than the women in the non-appearance focused careers. Girls also rated the women in the appearance-focused photos as more competent than the other women. Boys, on the other hand, found the women in the non-appearance focused careers were more competent. The boys also ranked the appearance-focused photos lower on likeability.

The findings highlight the conflicting messages girls receive in the media about careers and success for women, said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studies the effects of media on body image and gender.

“Girls know they should look up to female doctors and scientists, but they also know that women in appearance-focused jobs get rewarded by society,” Daniels said. “It is, therefore, reasonable to think they would prefer women in those jobs.”

But the study also shows that teenage girls, as well as boys, value women in roles that are not appearance-focused and generally find those women to be better role models. That should encourage movie, television and advertising executives to showcase a much wider range of working women and move beyond the “moms and models” that are the most common examples of women in media, Daniels said.

“The dominant belief is that sex sells,” she said. “But our findings show teens have positive attitudes toward other images of working women, providing evidence that there is support for these other images.”

The research was just published in the Journal of Adolescent Research. The co-author is Aurora M. Sherman, an associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU. The study was conducted while Daniels was on the faculty at OSU-Cascades; she’s now working at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The researchers wanted to study adolescents’ attitudes about working women in part because they are under-represented in the media and are often depicted in stereotyped roles. In film and prime-time television, for example, women are less likely to be shown working in professional roles such as executives at a major corporation. That could send a message to young people that such occupations are unattainable or inappropriate for women.

“We already have a lot of research about the negative effects of sexualized or idealized media images on young women,” Daniels said. “But there is very little research about the effects of other types of positive images of women, such as CEOs or military pilots. We wanted to understand how young people respond to those images.”

The teens in the study were given a brief description of each woman’s occupational accomplishments with each photo. The teenagers then answered a series of questions about the women in the photos, including: likability, competence and similarity to themselves.

The majority of both boys and girls rated the military pilot and the CEO as good role models, at 90 percent and 79 percent, respectively, while 58 percent said the actor was a good role model and 48 percent said the model was.

“The most striking finding is the disconnect between girls’ role model evaluations and their ratings of women’s competence,” Daniels said.

But the research also shows there is interest in and appetite for more diverse images of working women in media and advertising, she said. “Those images are reviewed positively by audiences, but it is really rare to see women featured in their careers.”

Additional research is needed to understand how media may affect the career aspirations of children and adolescents.

“Does it affect the teens’ aspirations of what they can be? Does exposure to a female CEO or military pilot encourage girls to join a computer coding club or take math or science classes? We don’t know yet,” Daniels said.

Future research also could look specifically at why boys downgraded the competence and likeability of women in appearance-focused jobs but teen girls did not, Sherman said.

“We speculate that teens may be receiving some deeply mixed messages about the importance of appearance for femininity that may be at odds with the messages they are learning about competence in occupations,” she said.

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Elizabeth Daniels, 831-345-8447, edaniels@uccs.edu; or Aurora Sherman, 541-737-1361, Aurora.sherman@oregonstate.edu

Student-directed one-act play festival runs June 3-7 at Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Theatre’s annual Spring One-Act Festival, featuring four original one-act plays written and directed by OSU students, will run June 3-7 in the Lab Theatre.

The plays, which feature a large cast of OSU students, are:

  • “The Mark,” written by Elise Barberis and directed by Anna Mahaffey, tells the story of Steve, a reluctant cult leader brought into power by a group of well-meaning followers on the morning of Doomsday.
  • “Caffeinated Crisis,” written by Bryanna Rainwater and directed by Teri Straley, follows the adventures of a plucky news reporter who uncovers an absurd conspiracy brought on by the Northwest’s major coffee chains.
  • “Answer Me,” written by Amanda Kelner and directed by Sam Zinsli, features Tegan, who finds herself working for Madam Matilda, an eccentric psychic who actually has the ability to tell the future.
  • “Cheep! Cheep!,” written by Joseph Workman and directed by Alex Reis, is a comic exploration of Maxwell, a stick-in-the-mud employee at a chicken-themed amusement park filled with perky oddballs.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 3-6 and 2 p.m. June 7. The Lab Theatre is located in Withycombe Hall, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.

Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for seniors, $5 for youths and students, and $4 for OSU students. For information or to purchase tickets, contact the OSU Theatre Box Office at 541-737-2784 or visit the website at http://bit.ly/1jdKUgy.

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