Professional actor, playwright Deb Hiett to visit South Dakota State for collegiate premiere


BROOKINGS — Los Angeles actor and playwright Deb Hiett is coming to South Dakota State University to celebrate the collegiate premiere of her new play, “The Escape Thingy.”

Performance dates are Feb. 22-24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center’s Fishback Studio Theatre. A public dialogue with Hiett will immediately follow the Feb. 23 performance.

In “The Escape Thingy,” two very different couples meet in an escape room game night, each needing very different types of escape. The clock is ticking as they attempt to solve the puzzles, distinguish facts from alternative facts, and weigh the risks of unlocking the door to the dangerous world outside.

Tickets are $22 apiece for adults and $20 for seniors, military, SDSU employees and children. SDSU students are free with Student ID. Tickets can be purchased anytime online. The Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center box office will open for in-person sales one week prior to the opening performance, or call 605-688-6045.

Members of the cast include SDSU senior Peyten Wiese, sophomores Blake Fabre and Jacob Stevens and freshmen Alex Gales and Israel Caldron. The production is directed by W. James Wood, professor and artistic director of theatre and dance at SDSU.

“We are so thrilled to have Deb on campus again for the collegiate premiere of her play. When she was with us for the Festival of New Plays in 2022, her work with the students was inspirin,” Wood said.

Hiett’s most recent play, “Circle Forward,” was selected for the 2022 “Lab Results” Reading Series at Antaeus Theatre Company (Los Angeles). Some of Hiett’s full-length plays include “The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!” (premiered at Rogue Machine Theater, Los Angeles), “Miss Keller Has No Second Book” (premiered at Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples, Florida) and “The Clearing in the Jacoby” (finalist for the Reva Shiner Comedy Award).

Her play “Call Time” was a semifinalist in the 2022 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival. She’s twice been a semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and her play “The Presentation” was selected for the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival.

Hiett’s short film “Gratitude Jar Time Capsule” won Best Comedy Television Pilot at the 2020 Atlanta Comedy Film Festival and the 2021 Women’s Comedy Film Festival in Atlanta. Her film “Open House” won Los Angeles Film Festival/FunnyorDie’s “Make ‘Em LAFF” Showcase, Best Comedy Short at the Women in Comedy Festival, and Best Video Short at iOWest’s Funny Women LA Festival.

She’s also an actor and musician, having appeared in numerous television shows such as “Young Sheldon,” The Good Place,” “NCIS” and many more. Audiences may also recognize her from her recent role in “Barbie.” More information on the actor and playwright can be found at

For more information, contact Wood at 605-688-4559 or