Amanda Harwood blogging about All Recipes Are home


All Recipes Review: A UIowa Theatre Student's Impression


A couple weeks ago, I visited a Working Group Theatre/Awful Purdies rehearsal for the first time. When I entered their rehearsal space, the old library in Seashore Hall, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before their run through began, there was a flurry of activity. The Purdies were warming up across from the staging area and the actors were putting on costume pieces and running through dance steps. I found a seat near the band in an out-of-the-way nook. The room eased into a performance without me hardly even noticing. I was listening to a cheerful Purdies tune, and before I knew it, the narrator (Katie Roche) spoke. She began to tell a story to her little girl (played by Cara Clonch Viner). Just when I was hooked, the story began to come alive. Viner transformed effortlessly from the little girl to her main character of Erin and started to sing the opening song, an upbeat joyous tune called, “At the Veil.” Leaving out the spoilers, the story continues and tells a tale about recipes and how they keep love and family alive. From the title, I had assumed the show would probably have something to do with recipes and something to do with home, but I was pleasantly surprised at how strong and complex the women in the show were. They were not reduced to housewives or homemakers. It would be easy for a show seemingly about a simple old family recipe to slip into classic gender norms, but in the show, we see several of the female characters getting to work on the farm AND feed an entire community in a dire circumstance at the same time.  YAY FEMINISM! On top of that, this play often encourages young men and women to find themselves before they find a husband or wife. It even questions whether or not you need to be married to be happy. If this wasn’t awesome enough, the play also includes homosexuality rather than solely focusing on heterosexual romances. Playwright and director Sean Christopher Lewis effortlessly weaves social justice into his writing. These progressive themes were never overdone or over discussed, but contributed perfectly to the depth of the story. If you’d like to see a fun, family-oriented, new play about love, life, and family, you won’t want to miss All Recipes are Home this weekend April 17th and 18th at 7:00pm at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.


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