Still Life with Iris; Steven Dietz review
This is a play intended for children, although you can certainly also enjoy it as an adult.
Iris lives in Nocturno, a place where the thunder is made, the wind is taught to whistle, and the moon has to be roped in at night. It's also a place where if you loose your coat, you loose your memory. They send their best leaves, best raindrops, and best of everything to the Greater Goods, people who live on an island and whom the inhabitants of Nocturno have never seen.
Iris' father used to rope the moon in, but when she was only a baby he went to go find the moon after an eclipse and never returned. Her mother teaches the wind to whistle before every storm, and at the start of the play Iris learns she is to be the new fog lifter.
One day, Iris is at home with her mother. Earlier in the day a man had come to the town, saying he was looking for someone, but Iris soon forgets this since she is more fixated in learning about her father. She begins to ask about her father, and her mother tells her. She also tells Iris that her father had a leather pouch, and it can now be Iris'. She goes inside the house to fetch it, and a man, Mr. Matternot, steps outside instead. Iris asks where her mother is, and he explains that it doesn't matter anymore - the greater goods want her, the perfect girl, for their own. Her mother exits the house, sans coat, and Iris calls out for her. Her mother no longer remembers. Mr. Matternot tells iris to remove her coat as well - this way she won't have any bad memories. She does, promptly forgets, and all that is left is her pouch and a button that fell from her coat.
She meets the goods, a couple named Greta and Grotto, and learn they are an odd bunch. They only have the best
of everything, and that can only be one, so they each wear one shoe, one sock, one earring, one glove, etc. They give toys to Iris, but she can't very well play with them - she is gifted one playing card, one jack, one puzzle piece, and one doll locked away in a case. Mr. Matternot works for the Greater Goods, and he tells her to be happy.
Iris is not. So she runs away and encounters Annabellie who speaks in rhymes and is a pirate, trying to find her ship, and a young Mozart who is on the cusp of writing a new song, whose notes always elude him as the dawn comes. Together, they must escape the island, the Greater Goods, and help Iris find the little girl whose button she carries; they must all help her find herself.
Personally, I loved this play. It's so sweet and the story is quite original and cute. I loved the characters, especially Annabellie and the young Mozart (who loves cocoa). I found it to be charming and entertaining, and if the production you see is as good as the one I say, humorous and compelling as well. It's a great story for children and adults a like. Now, the major plot twist I found to be... Well, rather transparent and I actually figured it out the moment Mr. Matternot comes into the play, but my mother was blissfully unaware, so I'm sure others were as well.
And now, one of my favorite quotations from the play, "What our memory leaves unfinished, our heart completes with ache." Bravo Steven Dietz, bravo.
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