Production “Still Life with Iris” raises questions about children’s power and memories

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Graphic by Nathaniel Unger

Purple Crayon Players production “Still Life with Iris” is free to the public and airing March 5-6.

Rayna Song, Reporter

Stolen memories, corrupt rulers and family ties — that’s what the audience at Purple Crayon Players’ “Still Life with Iris” has to look forward to.

The live production “Still Life with Iris” revolves around the agency children have in their lives and the value of memory. The show is produced by Purple Crayon Players, a student-run theatre organization that targets young audiences, and will be streamed March 5 – 6 for free. Community members can sign up for tickets through Eventbrite.

Communication senior and director Melissa Lewyn said the hour long performance is a fun and exciting story touching on issues related to family and defiance.

“We’ve been looking to older people to make change, but ‘Still Life with Iris’ completely defies that norm and has the young people making all the change, making all the calls, convincing adults what is right,” Lewyn said.

“Still Life with Iris” takes place in Nocturno, a fictional world where citizens paint flowers and monitor nature when humans sleep. The rulers of Nocturno, the Great Goods, want to have the best of everything and thus take Iris, the “best daughter,” from her home, erasing her memory. In the end, Iris frees herself from the Great Goods and finds her home and her past.

Lewyn said the production discusses how memories form identities and how people lose part of themselves when they lose memories. She added the story is also about power and courage.

“The message is that you should definitely stand up for what you believe in, even if there’s an institution or a structure that says otherwise,” Lewyn said.

Although this production targets young audiences, viewers of all age groups will enjoy the story, Lewyn said. The play features characters of different ages, allowing viewers to see a version of themselves in the play.

Communication freshman and stage manager Haley Groth said the play questions the worthiness of remembering pasts that have a mix of painful and joyous moments.

“Even though it’s theatre for young audiences, this production has a lot of themes that apply to everyone,” Groth said. “One of my favorite ones is the idea that things don’t have to be expensive and technically the best to be special to you. Sometimes the worn things and the things you create with other people are the most beautiful.”

Communication freshman Veronica Szafoni, who plays Iris, said she likes the character because of her bravery, intelligence and connection to her family.

Szafoni said many girls are taught to be submissive and quiet, and to go along with what’s happening. Iris, on the other hand, does not sugarcoat her words and expresses exactly what she wants, demonstrating “female tenacity.”

“(Iris) has a lot of spunk; she has a lot of fierceness. And as soon as she senses that something’s not going in the right way, she knows how to speak up, which I think is really important for all women and all young girls to learn,” Szafoni said.

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Twitter: @RaynaYu_Song

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