For a sixth straight year, the Garrison and Dysart Lions Clubs will host a theatrical production by the Iowa Theatre Artists Company (ITAC) of Amana as a fundraiser for the two clubs. On Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, the ITAC production of A.R. Gurney's "The Dining Room" will take the stage at the Union Middle School in Dysart and entertain the local audience.
Both clubs sell tickets and the proceeds are split evenly. Not only has it been a successful fundraiser for the two clubs, but it has also helped support the not-for-profit small professional organization, the Iowa Theatre Artists Company, and has also provided a fundraising opportunity for the local community theatre of Dysart, the Wolf Creek Players, which provides the refreshments during intermission.
"This has been a fantastic fundraiser for all involved. It's such fun to work with the two clubs and the community theatre and also to provide a very special event for the local audience in Benton and Tama Counties," ITAC Artistic Director Meg Merckens said. "Support from area Lions Clubs members through their attendance at one of the performances has always made this an outstanding fundraiser for the Garrison and Dysart Clubs."
Written in 1982, Gurney's celebrated and award-winning play takes place in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household. This room provides the space where dozens of different characters meet to discuss a wide range of family matters through a series of inter-related scenes. From young boys to elderly grandfathers, from rebellious teenage girls to Irish madis, Gurney covers topics that range from dancing school to dinner parties, from domestic service to dividing the estate between siblings, all with a sparkle of smart, witty and thought-provoking dialogue.
"This comedy is a challenge for the actors and for the director as we portray dozens of characters in a multitude of scenes, all connected by what once was the pivotal meeting place for families-the dining room," said director Thomas P. Johnson of South Amana.
A cast of six has been assembled to take on the 57 different roles and include ITAC Artistic Director Meg Merckens (South Amana), along with ITAC veterans Felipe Carrasco (Iowa City), Judith Gardner (St. Peter, MN), Robert Gardner (St. Peter, MN), and Ian Zahren (formerly of South Amana and now a resident of the Twin Cities). Newcomer to the company Stacia McKee (Coralville) fills out the six-member cast. The play is recommended for high school-age and up.
The Saturday performance on October 12 is scheduled at 7 p.m. and the Sunday matinee performance on October 13 will be at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for students, and are general admission. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the following club members: Dysart Lions, Dwayne Luze (319-476-4949) or Garrison Lions, Dick Flickinger (319-477-8423) or by calling the ITAC box office at 319-622-3222. Information about ITAC and its production of "The Dining Room" can be found by visiting iowatheatreartists.org.