Still Life With Iris

An adventure fantasy drama by Steven Dietz

Set in Nocturno, "Still Life With Iris" chronicles a young girl's quest to regain her memory and with it her home. With the help of the incredible people she meets along the way, Iris' crusade recovers more than her past. She succeeds in finding herself: the power of faith and the courage of persistence. These traits will lead her home.

In the world of Nocturno, all the things one sees by day are made by the people who live there at night while the rest of the world sleeps. The sun is raised each morning by a signal from the day breaker, the moon is roped and lowered into a basket every night. The inhabitants of Nocturno busy themselves all night long putting leaves back on the branches, painting the flowers, filling the clouds with rain, making and bottling thunder for storms, and painting the spots on the ladybugs. In this world, Iris is a ten-year-old girl living happily with her mother.

Each of the inhabitants of Nocturno wears a beautiful coat that contains all their memories, a coat that is kept carefully mended by the local tailor, the Memory Mender. Without the coat, or if it becomes threadbare, the inhabitants would lose who they really were, because they wouldn't be able to remember.

During their work, they are expected to keep a lookout for the perfect example of their creations, which will then be sent to the Island of the Great Goods, where Grotto and Gretta Good rule and keep a single example of the perfect leaf, or the perfect book, and so on. Because she's seen as being perfect of her kind, she is taken to the island of the Great Goods, to become their perfect daughter. To do so, she has her coat taken away from her. Iris manages to keep a button from her
coat, and when she holds it, she remembers something, but the memory is slim and enigmatic. She then goes on a journey to reclaim that memory.

The play's story line is in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland. Its allegorical elements and cultural references may mean more to the parents in the audience than to the children, but its strong plot, fantastical characters, and appealing heroine will engage children as well. The play explores how loss of one's past steals the future as well, and how our past defines who we are. Through a series of encounters with new friends, Iris is able to seek and discover the rest of her past, as well as revealing a wonderful secret which changes her future.

Produced by Upstage Review Theatre Company.

Performances: February 20-23, 2003

Also available to tour to area elementary schools - Book a date by calling 608-269-7247.