A Review of Copenhagen

copenhagen1by Phil Beck

Iowa CityCopenhagen, Dreamwell Theatre’s production of Michael Frayn’s Tony Award winning play, opened May 12 with a single question: “Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen?” The various possible answers, and their ramifications, form the basis of this erudite, Rashomon-like investigation into the past. In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg (Gavin Conkling) traveled to Occupied Denmark to visit his old mentor, Niels Bohr (Matthew Brewbaker) and his wife, Margarethe (Jessica Wilson). The purpose and substance of his visit has been debated ever since by both historians and by the principles themselves, who in the years following offered different accounts of what they talked about. Whatever it was, it had import for the whole world—the two Nobel Prize-winning physicists each worked on the development of the atomic bomb, Heisenberg (unsuccessfully) for Nazi Germany and Bohr for the U.S. team that created the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Continue reading

A Review of StarCon

starcon1by David Pierce

Iowa City – The 37th Annual StarCon of Eastern Iowa, the region’s premiere science fiction convention, is going on this weekend in Exhibition Hall B on the Johnson County Fairgrounds. This year’s amazing lineup promises events including a costume contest, a talent show, a romance between feuding families, and the heist of a famous artifact. Okay, the heist of a kickball wrapped in gold foil. Continue reading

A Review of Annie Get Your Gun

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by Sharon Falduto
Photos by Jackie Blake Jensen Photography

Coralville – I had personal reasons for wanting to be the reviewer for City Circle’s production of Annie Get Your Gun. For one, I’ve been a fan of Irving Berlin for most of my life. Chances are, I was one of the few 13-year-olds in 1986 who had a cassette of Bing Crosby singing Berlin’s hits on her Walkman. Also, my oldest daughter portrayed Annie Oakley in her 6th grade class’s “wax museum,” so I thought she should see the musical of Annie Oakley’s life. Continue reading

A Review of Making God Laugh

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Photo by Lily Allen-Duenas

by Gerry Roe

Amana – Sean McCall, the Creamery’s Artistic Director, includes in each program a letter to the audience in which he may tell us how he chose the play or something about the history of the play and/or playwright. In the letter for Making God Laugh, McCall includes a quote from Woody Allen which gave this play its title. Allen’s version of the familiar idea is very clear: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” The play gives us a clear illustration of this familiar adage by examining thirty years in the life of a suburban family. I think there’s a reason for letting us see what thirty years can produce: thirty is often a magic number as in rain for thirty days and nights, Jesus beginning his career at thirty, etc. Continue reading

A Review of The Diary of Anne Frank

annefrank1.jpgby Matthew Falduto
Photos by Emily McKnight

Iowa City – Before you even enter the theatre, you get the feeling that this show is going to be something special. Throughout the lobby is an amazing display centered around the subject at hand – the Holocaust in general and Anne Frank in specific. Taped off on the floor of the lobby is the size of the secret annex where the Frank family lived for two years in hiding. You stand within the tape marks and begin to realize how difficult it must have been. An incredibly detailed timeline adorns the walls as you walk down a corridor toward the playing area. Before you’re allowed in, two actors encourage you to be as quiet as possible, emphasizing another challenge Anne and the others had to face. A bookcase swings open and you are taken down a hall, up a couple of stairs and then you are in the theatre. As you take your seats, you realize you are incredibly close to the action. Those of us in the front row are inches from the actors. All of this adds up to an immersive theatre experience the like of which I have never experienced at the Iowa City Community Theatre before. The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by Rachel Korach Howell, is an perfectly created theatrical experience, emotionally raw and funny and heartbreaking. It’s what theatre should be, every single time. Continue reading

A Review of Relativity

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Photo by Bob Goodfellow

by Matthew Falduto

Iowa City – Riverside’s latest production, Relativity by Mark St. Germain, asks the question, “Which is more important, to be a great man or to be a good man?” Greatness is personified by the character of Albert Einstein, perhaps the most brilliant scientist of the 20th century. However, we learn that Einstein, while certainly great, was never a good man, as he abandoned his wife and children. All of this comes out as Einstein is interviewed by Margaret Harding, who claims to be a reporter, though it’s pretty obvious in the first few minutes that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Continue reading

A Review of Down the Road

downroadby Phil Beck

Down the Road, Lee Blessing’s drama about the relationship between a serial killer and two journalists writing a book about him, opened at Public Space One last Friday, March 23. Blessing is a prize-winning playwright and a graduate of Iowa’s Playwriting Workshop, both reasons to take interest in his work, but despite a potentially explosive subject, Down the Road delivers surprisingly little drama. Dreamwell’s sincere effort to make this production compelling is ultimately defeated by a lackluster script. Continue reading