Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stuff Happens opens Friday

Iowa City — Dreamwell Theatre continues its “Season of War and Consequences” with David Hare's controversial play, Stuff Happens, which chronicles the convoluted diplomatic strategies that preceded the war in Iraq. Stuff Happens plays at the Universalist Unitarian Society, 10 S. Gilbert St. at 7:30pm, April 8, 9, 15, and 16. Reservations can be made at $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 students.

The title comes from a quote made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld when asked about looting in Iraq following the fall of Baghdad. "Stuff happens and it's untidy, and freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," said Rumsfeld. The play draws from dozens of interviews with individuals involved in the events portrayed in the play. All the key players make appearances, including: George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

With characters like Bush, Cheney and the like, it would be easy to approach the piece with a "Saturday Night Live-esque" sense of mockery. Director Ryan Foizey believes the play's power and its true satire comes in understanding and interpreting the true intentions of these characters, devoid of caricature.

"It would be so easy to make these characters monsters," says Foizey, "We've rehearsed to humanize these political figures, making them people instead of objects, to aid in a better understanding of the humanistic qualities motivating the war. I have listened, learned, left and still laughed at this show time and time again through the rehearsal process and discovering its truths. It brings light to controversial issue while keeping the integrity of a good and entertaining theatre piece."

The New York Times calls Stuff Happens "A collective work of imagination that attempts to grasp how and why an unnecessary and unwinnable war was allowed to happen."

Stuff Happens features Justin Braden, K. Michael Moore, Rob Merritt, Nicole Reedy, Brian Tanner, Scott Strode and additional ensemble members.

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