Theatre Northwest, the theatre company of Northwest Missouri State University will present “Still Life with Iris,” a children’s fantasy by Steven Dietz, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22-24 and 2 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Studio Theatre at the Ron Houston Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under. Tickets are available at the cashiering office on the first floor of the Administration Building, by phone at 660-562-1321, or at the box office up to one hour before the performance.
“Still Life with Iris” centers on Iris, a young girl on a quest to regain her memories. In Nocturno, the land in which the play occurs, people maintain memories by wearing “Pastcoats” – coats that physically hold their memories of the past within their threads, buttons and adornments. When the rulers of Nocturno, who selfishly want her to live with them and forget about her previous life, take Iris’s coat, she meets friends who appear from her imagination and help her find the truth about her past.
The play will most appeal to ages 7 and up, but all audiences can enjoy the story, interesting design concepts, and relatable themes. The audience will be seated on all four sides of the stage area, and the play, which is about one hour in length, will be performed without an intermission.
The production also will include magic and surprise, and the Studio Theatre lobby will be filled with interesting, colorful decorations and activities for children.
“By choosing a children’s play, we not only are able to expand our students’ expertise but also appeal to an even wider audience,” Assistant Professor of Theatre Katheryn Bilbo, the play’s director, said. “Children will greatly enjoy the play’s story, colorful visuals, music, and characters, and parents can be assured the play is not only appropriate viewing for their children but is also of high quality.”
“Still Life with Iris” is the first play for young audiences to win the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award.
“One of the reasons we chose this particular play is its beautiful story and protagonist,” Bilbo said. “No matter what Iris encounters, she faces any setbacks and disappointments with hope and optimism and never stops working toward her goal. She is a role model for young audiences, who are creating their own hopes, dreams, and memories in life.”
Bilbo added, “The themes of home, family, and identity are easily understood and identifiable to all persons, and although there are moments of poignant sadness in addition to some particularly comedic characters and scenes of love between parents and their children, audiences will leave the theater feeling upbeat.”