The County Seat Theater Company will present “Leaving Iowa,” a comedy about family vacations by Tim Clue and Spike Manton. The play is a toast to the idealism and character of parents from the now-dubbed “greatest generation,” and a little roast of their undying dedication to the classic family road trip. But you don’t have to be the child of a small-town Iowa couple living in the midst of hog farms and cornfields to identify with everything about “Leaving Iowa.”
Cloquet actor Jeff Anderson portrays Don Browning, a middle-aged writer who returns home and decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home, as requested. But when Don discovers Grandma’s house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa searching for a proper resting place for his father. This father-and-son road trip shifts smoothly from the present to Don’s memories of the annual, torturous vacations of his childhood.
“I am excited to be part of a fun comedy that has a great message behind it,” Anderson said.
“Many of my favorite moments in this production take place right in the family car,” said Director Joel Soukkala. “What makes this show so funny is just how close to the truth the situations really are.”
Family members played by Kirk Davis (Dad), Jennifer House (Mom) and Darien Bottila (Sis) have a great chemistry on stage as they act out various vacation scenarios from being lost in the middle of the country, to visiting historical mile markers and playing slug bug in the car.
There are many zany characters throughout the play who offer even more comical moments to this show. Supporting actors include Harold Haapoja, Gary Tegels, Colleen Biskey, Corey Fischer, Michelle Jokinen, Toni Crowell, Michelle Wilfong and Andy Angell.
“We have some new faces in this production. It is always great to introduce the theater experience to them,” Soukkala said. “They all have done an outstanding job.”
“Leaving Iowa” is a postcard to anyone who has ever found himself or herself driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of his or her youth. The County Seat Theater Company will perform “Leaving Iowa” at the Encore Performing Arts Center in Cloquet May 9-12 and 15-19. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. except Sunday performances at 2 p.m. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 218-878-0071 or online at www.countyseattheater.com.
“This performance will be one road trip you will not soon forget,” Soukkala said.
A special art show opening featuring themed works will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in the Encore gallery. The show will feature pieces by local artists and is open to the public as a free event.
Since 2008, the County Seat Theater Company has been located in the Encore Performing Arts Center, at 2035 Highway 33 S. (on Frontage Road) in Cloquet. The theater offers a full season of local performances, as well as youth productions, musical acts and has an art gallery featuring work by local artists.
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