I first came across Leaving Iowa when I was teaching Drama a few years back and was in need of a play that could be accomplished with a small but talented cast. I was intrigued by the idea of a play about family road trips, as I remembered similar trips with my own family with a mixture of nostalgia, disdain and, well, awe.
As I began reading the play, I immediately connected with the family in the car and the humor of the situation, but was surprised by the truths hidden in the cleverness of the dialogue. Other, more important themes began to emerge—the complexity of family relationships, the regret of unfinished business, the motivation of guilt, and ultimately, the blessing of unconditional love.
As Don travels through this very long day to reconcile his past and his present, exploring his relationship with his father through his memories, I can’t help but be reminded that we are all on journeys of discovery and reconciliation. Each of us must discover who we are, where we come from and where we are going and “reconcile” ourselves with our Eternal Father.
Many times we aren’t really sure where we are going, how we are going to get there or when and how the journey will end. Sometimes, like Don, we don’t know where we are supposed to be until we get there. What we can know, though, is that our Father is watching over us lovingly as we experience our own growth through challenges, disappointments, sorrow and confusion to find His Peace, Joy, Comfort and Love.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of The WordPlayers by directing this show. My hope for you, the audience, is that you will be as blessed by it as I have been.