Class of 1978

Photo of Jay Oney

Jay Oney

PhD in theatre history from Ohio State University. 23 years teaching in Furman Department of Theatre Arts. I have directed 25 plays, taught theatre history, acting, directing, and criticism. I have occasionally acted, and I chaired the department for 12 years. I have co-directed the Study Away in the UK program 3 times.

“My years as a Furman Drama major gave me a good academic and production foundation for further training towards a career in the theatre. At Furman, I developed a lifelong faith in the ability of good people to have fun together doing the hard work of making plays.

I have many fond memories from those years, including theatre hockey and the beginnings of theatre darts, post-rehearsal trips to the Krispy Kreme with professors and casts, the thrill of studying great plays in the department’s classes and productions, and marveling at Sam Hodges, a non-theatre major who was a better actor then than I ever became. Also, during a dress rehearsal of a play where I acted with Professor Bryson, at a quiet moment, he whispered, “Oney, you smell like a banana.”

On the less fun side, as a careless scene shop assistant, I almost cut a finger off in the table saw, and we had a prof who chain-smoked as he taught us theatre history in the studio theatre.

As a senior, I directed a full length farce called What the Butler Saw. In the adrenaline surge of opening night, two of the actors accidentally pulled the pants and underwear off of a third. I am the only Furman theatre director so far to preside over a production with full-frontal male nudity. That moment provided the loudest laugh I’ve ever heard in over 40 years of seeing shows in The Playhouse.”

Photo of Katharine "Kat" Slonaker

Katharine "Kat" Slonaker

Freelance contractor for online data company (Sales & Service)

“My Playhouse experiences (meaning, the people in it) gave me genuine confidence in myself and consequently the ability to survive the craziness of my entertainment career.”

“So many…Theatre Hockey, traffic “fire drills”, being asked to leave Krispy Kreme, pranks and ‘in’ jokes…Truly though, I think what sticks with me best is the feeling of being exactly right where I ought to be.”