For Phone Reservations, please call (951) 658-5300
Single Admission (everyone) is $12.00 per seat.
Opening Night Admission is $5.00 per seat.
For large groups and school field trip packages, please call for more details.
The spark behind Leaving Iowa comes from being children of parents from the now dubbed “greatest generation.” The story is a toast to their idealism and character and a little roast of their undying dedication to the classic family road trip. More specifically, it is the story of 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. Don’s existential journey leads him to reconcile his past and present at the center of the United States. 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
Full Length Play
Target Audience: High School | College and Adult | Family (All Audiences)
DON (30’s – 40) – Successful Boston reporter – too busy to attend his father’s funeral three years ago. Must also play young Don in flashbacks – whiny, complaining, and antagonizing his big sister in the back seat of the car, as children have done since the dawn of the automotive age. He is the driver of the play in a gentle inviting way.
DAD (60’s) – He’s a quiet ghost who, in his urn, is Don’s passenger on his journey. Flashbacks show him as Dad the teacher, planning the family vacations around every educational and historical highlight of the American road. He never bought into the fun — more commercial – attractions along the way, which left the kids begging to stop at “Ghost Caverns” and motels with a pool! He was the ultimate father; the loving boss of the family.
MOM (60’s) – Don’s mom past and present. In flashbacks, always there – the ever-calming influence on Dad and the kids – the ultimate peacemaker on these family road trips – to a point. Currently, still “mothering”, but becoming a little flighty as she ages. Mom feels very guilty for having left Dad in his urn forgotten in the basement for the last three years.
SIS (30’s – 40’s) — Don’s older sister, past and present. In flashbacks, “Sweet Pea”, as Dad called her, is the typical big sister – overbearing, teasing, sneaky – always baiting Don until he struck back and got blamed for causing the ruckus. The two were always united in their efforts to influence Dad on the vacation plans. In present day, Sis is controlling, somewhat critical, but obviously loves her family.
MULTIPLE CHARACTER MALE (1-2 roles) – Super versatile actors who enjoy a challenge and can portray many characters with physicality and voice. Must play the male characters Don encounters on his road trip – in flashbacks and present day vignettes: farmer with silo, Don’s grandfather, grocery store clerk, Don’s Uncle, farmer with a hoe, Amish peddler at flea market, Civic War performer, Dan’s childhood friend (now a professor), mechanic, park ranger, unhappy old man, stoic waiter with a mullet, hog farmer.
MULTIPLE CHARACTER FEMALE (1-2 roles)– Same only female characters encountered: farmer’s wife with silo, Don’s grandmother, Don’s aunt, Amish peddler, museum assistant, mechanic, drunk woman in hotel, talkative waitress, hog farmer’s wife.
DON – David Crane
DAD – Arthur Conn
MOM – Genia Chapman
SIS – Jeri Greene
MULTIPLE CHARACTER MALE – Joshua Soto
MULTIPLE CHARACTER FEMALE – Whitney D’Agostino
Director: C.A Conn
Stage Manager: Jason Middle
Lights and Sound: C.A. Conn
Set Construction: “The ConnTeam” – (Zachary, Alexandra, & Art)
With this show, it’s appropriate to quote from Mark Twain who wrote, “When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not…”
The novelist Marcel Proust said, “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
My mother put it another way: “Well, that’s how you remember it.” I used to think she was joking. Now, as I find myself saying the same thing to my own children, I know she was not.
Children see things from their own, ego-centric point of view, so perhaps it’s not surprising that one person will remember events that parents and siblings don’t recall at all.
But one of the strangest vagaries of memory is that other people seem to age without our even noticing. In our memory, we see our siblings, parents, and other as if they were always the age they are now. Then we flip through a family photo album and are shocked at the youthful parents and grandparents we find preserved there.
These are Don’s memories. The trip he takes to fulfill a promise, and the “trip from hell” he remembers from his childhood, become intertwined because, as writer Frances Mayes said, “Sometimes you have to travel back in time…in order to love someone.”
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