What Will You Become?
Iowa Western Community College

Past Productions

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller


"Man of La Mancha" by Dale Wasserman

Based on The Adventures of Don Quixote, by Miguel the Cervantes y Saavedra, Man of La Mancha is a comic tragedy of mankind's struggle to better both himself and the world in which he lives. At times both inspiring and thought provoking, the story is both very entertaining and very moving, and will warm the heart of everyone whose spirits were ever raised by the prospect of a victory by the underdog against all the odds. The score is a musical delight, and contains one of the most moving moments in musical theatre as Don Quixote relates his personal credo in "The Impossible Dream".

"Grapes of Wrath" By Frank Galati
(from the novel by John Steinbeck)

Renowned first as a novel, and then as a prize-winning motion picture, the story of the Joad family and their flight from the dust bowl of Oklahoma is familiar to all. Desperately proud, but reduced to poverty by the loss of their farm, the Joads pile their few possessions on a battered old truck and head west for California, hoping to find work and a better life. Led by the indomitable Ma Joad, who is determined to keep the family together at any cost, and by the volatile young Tom Joad, an ex-convict who grows increasingly impatient with the intolerance and exploitation which they encounter on their trek, the Joads must deal with death and terrible deprivation before reaching their destination—where their waning hopes are dealt a final blow by the stark realities of the Great Depression. And yet, despite the anguish and suffering which it depicts, the play becomes in the final essence a soaring and deeply moving affirmation of the indomitability of the human spirit, and of the essential goodness and strength which—then as now—resides in the hearts and minds of the "common man," throughout the world.

Devised Theater Projects

"The Sandbag Project"


"Eddie Fisbecks"

Take Oedipus Rex and mix it with a live audience, cameras and the “Jerry Springer” talk show and what you get is a fresh, revealing look at the ancient Greek tragedy.

This is a devised theatre project. No auditions. Class size 10-12 students.

"Venus" by Suzan-Lori Parks

In 1810, Saartje Baartman, dubbed The Venus Hottentot, a young black woman with an enormous posterior, is lured away from her menial job in South Africa to tour the world and make lots of money. Once in England, however, she is sold to a freak show and becomes a star. She shows off her attribute, bringing in crowds and raking in money for the side show owners. Quickly becoming adept at showing herself, and figuring out what the people want, she even tries to break out on her own, but can't quite master that in those social times. Eventually, she is procured by a white doctor who is more than fascinated with her. He falls in love with her and keeps her as his mistress until he is in danger of losing his medical reputation and social standing. Venus, who journeyed to Europe with high hopes, at the end of her short life, was dissected by the man she loved.

"Evil Dead: The Musical" by George Reinblatt

Evil Dead: The Musical is based upon the cult film of the same title staring Bruce Campbell.

Several college students spend the weekend in an abandoned cabin in the woods, accidentally unleashing an evil terror. In this comedic take on the 80’s horror franchise, characters and demons sing and dance to songs written specifically for the musical as well as parodying songs from other musicals….  and, as in the films, Ash is there to dish out his various one liners and fight the never ending Army of darkness.

"Noises Off" By Michael Frayn

During the first act, we are an audience to this production of a play within a play. The Nothing On cast is loveable, but mainly inept; however, we cheer for them under our breath and hope that they can pull it together and get the show on the road. For act two, we, the audience, are sitting backstage; the entire set has been turned 180 degrees. We can hear the actors performing out front, but what we see is the back side of the scenery flats, the stage manager trying to keep the action flowing and everybody happy, and the various antics of the actors offstage between their exits and entrances. Act three is a month later again, and the tour is reaching an end. We, the audience, are out front again, watching a performance of Nothing On that has reached the point of complete and hilarious deterioration. The business of performing the show has become subordinate to the business of solving personal problems.

"Medea & Jason: Rubicon Waltz" by Matthew Everett

Medea's sons want her to tell them a story. So Medea tells the tales of an epic love story gone horribly wrong - the story of how the young adventurer Jason met the princess Medea, the story of how the boys' mother met their father

Medea conjures the other players in the tale, unfolding the origin of the Golden Fleece, and the quest of Jason and the Argonauts. But truth is a slippery thing - depending on the person telling the story and the reasons they're telling it. The messier the story gets the more variations which appear. Throughout, the goddesses and god of legend meddle in affairs of the human heart.

Medea betrayed her father and her country in order to help obtain the Golden Fleece. She helped murder her own brother to aid their escape. Before it was all over, a giant, two kings, and princess, among others, were dead. And depending on which version you believe, Medea's sons die as well. But who kills them, and why?

Medea and Jason: Rubicon Waltz Explores the stories and lies we tell others and ourselves.

"Moby Dick! The musical" by Robert Longden and Hereward Kaye

A British cult spoof, and a Whale of a Tale! 

In order to save their bankrupt school that's seen better days, the girls of St. Godley's Academy for Young Ladies decide to put on a musical version of Moby Dick. The highly comic, satirical romp through the age-old mariner's tale that ensues proves to be a world of endless, funny double entendres and wonderful, pastiche-y company numbers.

Jerry R. Ditter, formerly the Artistic Director of “Stages of Omaha” at the Millennium Theatre, will directed and choreographed the production. Music Direction was by Machelle Mitchell, Scenic Design by faculty member Carl Dumicich, Costume Design by faculty member Jennifer Pool, Lighting Design by student Michiela Marshall, and assistant choreography by student Lauren Koll.

"Tartuffe" by Jean Baptiste Moliere

A 17th century comic masterpiece of religious hypocrisy.  The story takes place in the home of the wealthy Orgon, where Tratuffe - a fraud and pious imposter - has insinuated himself.  He succeeds magnificently in winning the respect and devotion of the head of the house and then tries to marry his daughter and seduce his wife and scrounge the deed to the property. 

Moliere has mercilessly examined the evil that men can commit in the guise of religious fervor and the dangers that imperil those who would believe only what they choose to believe despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

"Marcus is Walking" by Joan Ackermann

Written for the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the car, the play examines the emotional landscape we roam as we travel in our cars.

This contemporary comedy is a series of 11 vignettes - all taking place in a car!  These humanistic "scenes from the road" are brought to life by 27 different characters ranging from a homeless woman seeking shelter, to a pair of lustful teenagers, to an eccentric family out for a Sunday drive, to an 11-year old Marcus in a ghost costume and his overhearing father on Halloween.

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury's primary theme in Fahrenheit 451 is the importance of independent thought and intellectual freedom.

He sees reading as a key method of cultivating intellectual curiosity. Books confront readers with a variety of conflicting opinions and ideas, forcing them to think for themselves.

Bradbury portrays an overdependence on technology as a threat to intellectual development. Montag's escape from the supposedly infallible Mechanical Hound shows that an active human mind is superior to even the best technology.

In Bradbury's novel, education's emphasis on technology leads to a culture where people understand how things are done but never bother to wonder why things are done. Such an education discourages people from developing their creative abilities, and as the narrative points out several times, those who cannot build, destroy. The result is a society where fanatical, destructive behavior, such as the firemen's book-burning, flourishes.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" by Clark Gesner

This performance is a light-hearted musical, based on the comic strip of Charles M. Schultz, will feature the art of puppetry, with the design and training of puppetry skills of local professional artists. 

A program note says that the time of the action is "an average day in the life of Charlie Brown."  It really is just that, a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown, from Valentine's Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed in with the lives of his friends (both human and non-human) and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening.

None of the cast is actually six years old.  And they don't really look like Charles Schultz "Peanuts" cartoon characters.  But this doesn't seem to make that much difference once we are into the play, because what they are saying to each other is with the openness of that early childhood time, and the obvious fact is that they are all really quite fond of each other.

"Dirty Laundry" 

The Theatre Department invites you to our first production of the 2006-2007 season.  Dirty Laundry consists of two short female-written plays depicting conflict and attitudes between men and women - featuring Am I Blue by Beth Henley and Trifles by Susan Glaspell.

"Am I Blue" by Beth Henley

The play begins in a seedy New Orleans bar where John Polk Richards, a college freshman whose fraternity brothers have paid his way into a bordello as an eighteenth birthday present, is bolstering his courage with liquor. He is approached by Ashbe, a fey young creature who invites him to the littered apartment which she shares with her absent father.

As high strung and flaky as John Polk is nervous and tentative.  Ashbe initiates him into her secret fantasy life as she tries to bridge the loneliness which infuses them both.  She strings Cheerios to make a necklace and then nibbles at them; puts blue food coloring in John Polk's rum and Coke; lets him hear the sea in her favorite conch shell; and finally, invites him to make love to her - an offer which he politely declines.  Sometimes wildly funny, sometimes gently affecting, the play is a wonderfully resourceful study of two young people, both unsure and apprehensive, whose unexpected encounter becomes, for both of them, a valuable lesson in coping with life - now and in the future.

"Trifles" by Susan Glaspell

Susan Glaspell's one-act play is based on actual events that occurred in Iowa at the turn of the century.  From 1899-1901 Glaspell worked as a reporter for the Des Moines News, where she covered the murder trial of a farmer's wife, Margaret Hossack, in Indianola, Iowa.  Hossack was accused of killing her husband, John, by striking him twice in the head with an ax while he slept.

Trifles is a murder mystery that explores gender relationships, power between the sexes, and the nature of truth.  In the play, the farmer and his wife never actually appear; instead, the story focuses on the prosecutor, George Henderson, who has been called in to investigate the murder; Henry Peters, the local sheriff; Lewis Hale, a neighboring farmer who discovered Wright's body; and Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, wives to the two local men.

While the men bluster and tramp around the farmhouse searching for clues, the women discover bits of evidence in the "trifles" of a farmer's wife - her baking, cleaning and sewing.  Because the men virtually ignore the women's world, they remain blind to the truth before their eyes.