Theatre performances add unique logistics

Prepare to travel back in time -- way back in time -- when ISU Theatre's "Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner" opens Thursday, Feb. 29, in Fisher Theater.


Written by playwright Darcy Parker Bruce, the show is a quirky, queer time-travel adventure with dinosaurs. Described as a cross between "Jurassic Park," "Back to the Future," and "Fried Green Tomatoes," audiences will find that the stakes are more than life and death in this love story. They're life or extinction.

Along with the play's unique premise, ISU Theatre has given this production a few other innovative features. It is staged in the round, and all audience members will be seated on the stage.

Performances are Feb. 29 and March 1-2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 3 p.m. The show is an hour long with no intermission and contains adult language, haze and strobe lights. Tickets are general admission ($20 adults, Iowa State students are free). Due to the unique audience seating arrangements, there are limited tickets available for each show. Advance purchase, including the free student tickets, is strongly recommended. For ticket information, visit

It's also the first time a main stage ISU Theatre production will be entirely student-designed. Students interviewed for the positions of scenic, lighting, sound, props and costume designer last spring. Some of their challenging tasks include bringing to life a soundscape including dinosaurs, creating authentic props for audience members watching from a few feet away and designing a set visible from four angles.

"This is my first fully realized main stage scenic design," scenic designer Bobbie Buie said. "This is also my first time designing for a show in the round, which doesn't exactly throw the old rules out the window, but it certainly turns them on their head. Having to consider four varying audience perspectives and how to give them a unique but equally potent experience was an exciting challenge and a wonderful learning opportunity to complete."

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Artist-in-Residence Heather Currie directs the production. Currie is an ensemble member with Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, where she works as a director, writer and actor.