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Utah State Theatre Presents 'Still Life with Iris'

Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

October 25, 2013
Writer: Whitney Schulte, 435-797-9203,
Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

Utah State Theatre Presents 'Still Life with Iris'
Theater work for Young People and Families

 LOGAN - "Still Life with Iris," a theater work for young people and families, opens at Utah State University's Morgan Theatre Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. for a public performance. An additional matinee is Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m.

Set in Nocturno, this adventure fantasy drama 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.

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 10-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.

The play's story line is in the tradition of "Alice in Wonderland," said Matt Omasta, director of "Still Life with Iris" and assistant professor in the theatre department at the Caine College of the Arts.

"Growing up, I watched 'Alice in Wonderland' and the moment when Alice shrunk down and came across the caterpillar lounging on a mushroom has always been prominent in my mind. The caterpillar asked Alice, 'Who are you?' a very simple question, but one she could not seem to answer."

Omasta said the sound of the caterpillar's question has been echoing in his mind for decades.

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.

"'Still Life with Iris' explores this poignant question beautifully without offering any easy answers," said Omasta. "Some people suggest this makes the play especially suitable for young people since they are still figuring out who they are, but can we ever truly figure out who we are as children or adults?"

While working on the play, Omasta had the opportunity to reflect on the question many times. He said each time that he did he suspected he was getting a bit closer to the answer.

"I hope that our production provides audience members of all ages with similar opportunities for reflection and self-discovery," said Omasta.

Tickets for "Still Life with Iris" are $13 adults, $10 seniors and youth, $8 USU faculty and staff and free for USU students with ID. For more information or tickets, contact the Caine College of the Arts Box Office in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU's campus, call 435-797-8022, or see the college's Production Services website (  

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