This piece is the first play for young audiences to receive the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays Award. Still Life with Iris is a fantastical adventure which centers on a little girl's search for the simplest of things: home. Iris lives with her mom in the land of Nocturno—a magical place in which the workers make, by night, all of the things we see in the world by day. Also, in Nocturno, memories do not reside in people's minds but instead are kept in their coats (called 'Past Coats'). The rulers of Nocturno, the Great Goods, are determined to have the "best" of everything on their island—and therefore take Iris away from her home and bring her to Great Island to be their daughter. To ease the pain of this separation, they remove her Past Coat, leaving her with no memory of her home or her family. All that remains of Iris' past is a single button from her coat. Using the button as a clue, Iris joins with friends she meets on her journey—Annabel Lee (a young woman from the sea) and Mozart (the composer, age 11)—and frees herself from the Great Goods. She returns to Nocturno, having found her past, and her home.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code SC4000
- Cast Size 9
- Min. Royalty Rate $100/perf
- Cost $10.95
- Approx. Run Time 100 min
- Target Audience Young Audiences | Middle School | Family (all ages)
- Performing Group Middle School | High School | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre
- Genre Comedy | Drama
- ISBN(13) 9780871298690
- "A moving story with both humor and depth. It provided challenges for our more experienced actors, and also fun roles for those new to the stage. Our middle school students loved that it was challenging, and they loved creating the world of the play. We marketed it as "The most popular play that you've never heard of," because it is a favorite of so many who have produced it, yet it seems largely unknown by the general public. Definitely one of my favorites as a middle school director and great for this age, but an older group could dig even deeper into the nuances, and the design opportunities."
- Review by Kristin Hall, Lincoln School, Lincoln, Mass.
- "Still Life With Iris is a great fantasy show - it reminded us a little of Alice in Wonderland. The actors had fun with the variety of over-the-top characters and the audience appreciated that it was appropriate for children as well as adults."
- Review by Lauren Deal, First Flight High School, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
- "Wonderful! One of the most clever, profound plays for children I've ever read, with enough character complexity to impress even adult professional actors."
- Review by Luann Purcell, First Stage, Atlanta, GA
- "Still Life was a huge success for us. It challenged our company to really stretch our technical skills. The audiences loved it."
- Review by Carrie Wood, Waller High School Theatre, Waller, TX
- "Still Life with Iris deserves the prizes it has won. It raises much more significant issuesÑthe importance of history, the dangers of perfectionism, how to parentÑthan most plays for young audiences, yet is fast-paced, fun and visual."
- Review by Karen Bovard, Watkinson School, Hartford, Conn.
- "The play and its message are beautiful and I loved working on the magical elements."
- Review by Cecille Deason, Eastwood High School, El Paso, Texas
- "The actors' perception of their world within and without the play was deepened and enjoyed more for doing this wonderful play. We all felt it was the best show we've ever done for the 7th and 8th grade drama classes."
- Review by Linda Khoury, Hammond School, Columbia, S.C.
- "This beautiful and unusual play was perfect for middle-school students! We loved all the opportunities for literature, art and music connections. The cast, crew and audiences loved the show."
- Review by Jodi Johnston, Thomas R. Grover Middle School, Princeton Junction, N.J.
- "This show appeals to audiences of all agesÑit's layered with significant themes regarding the importance of every person protecting our memories and of cherishing our families. It reminds us of what is most important in this world."
- Review by Karen Bohmfalk, Paradise High School, Paradise, Texas
- "This is one of the most creative scripts I have had the pleasure of reading. It is an incredible educational exercise on characterizations for students in my program."
- Review by Cynthia Koetting, AC Lamplight Youth Theatre Company, Amarillo, Texas
- "Still Life with Iris is a beautiful and funny children's show that my actors and audience fell in love with. I plan to direct this play again in the future!"
- Review by Stefanie Ask, Stevenson High School, Stevenson, Wash.
- "This is a wonderful show to perform for children of all ages. There are both funny and beautiful moments in the script and some telling social commentary. There are some really fun roles for actors, too."
- Review by David Heywood, Black Hills High School, Tumwater, Wash.
- "I loved this play from the first reading. It was so well written for a children's pieceÑfull of charm and imagination. It gave our art department so much room for creativity, especially with the Past Coats. Audiences of all ages responded well. My high school actors found the play both fun and challenging. A great ensemble piece."
- Review by Cassy Maxton-Whitacre, Shenandoah Valley Governor's School, Fishersville, Va.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "This is a great show for a large cast, as it can be cast with doubling of characters or with each character cast separately. We had a few more actors than there were parts, but it worked out well with non-speaking actors portraying the Spot Maker and Color Mixer mentioned in Nocturno or the Angry Forgotten Things in the tunnel."
- Tip by Lauren Deal, First Flight High School, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
- "I saw Nocturno as a place teeming with life and Great Island as a sterile, unwelcoming environment. However one chooses to portray these worlds, there must be a clear juxtaposition between the two."
- Tip by Hannah Hunt, Prince Avenue Christian School, Bogart, Ga.
- "It is very prop heavy—you need to have a creative prop master and crew so you can build the props needed. Keep it simple set-wise—let the actors tell the story."
- Tip by Cathy Archer, Rutland High School, Rutland, Vt.
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