September 14, 2010

Leaving Iowa Opens This Weekend!

Take a road trip with the Browning family in the new comedy hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "simultaneously hilarious and touching." This nostalgic look at family vacations will remind you of a time when we all asked that plaguing question . . . "Are we there yet."

Here are some thoughts from Director, Eric Harrell:

Surely there is a therapist out there who specializes in PTVD: post-traumatic vacation disorder. It’s the ailment that leaves families everywhere emotionally scarred and physically debilitated following the annual summer vacation.

For the most part, my family was spared PTVD. Every July my father navigated the family station wagon to sites my brother and I typically found interesting. There was the trip to the Grand Canyon, the Key West excursion and even Disneyland in fourth grade. But then came 1986: the sesquicentennial of Texas.

To help wish our home state a happy 150th birthday, my dad decided we would vacation stateside that year. The plan? Follow the historical markers and let history be our guide! I discovered rather quickly that water parks and video arcades do not have historical markers. Places like Washington-on-the-Brazos are rife with them.

In our quest to honor the history of our great state, we left no historical marker unvisited. There was Raven Hill (the plantation home of General Sam Houston), the Davis Mill (the first stone mill in Bell County with a carding machine) and the Lampasas River Bridge (a rare surviving example of a Whipple Truss!). It was the longest three weeks of my life. I can still feel my thighs sticking to the vinyl seats of our wood-paneled station wagon. I can still see the coarse stitching running through the middle of the back seat that served as the Great Wall of China between my feuding brother and me. And yes, I can still see (and smell) the many public bathrooms at all those remote gas stations in the middle of nowhere. Were it not for the motel swimming pools, picnics at state parks and the magnetized checker board we played in the car, I think the Texas sesquicentennial would likely have been my undoing.

But I did survive. And the next year my dad flew us all to Cancun.

I guess you made it through your family vacations as well or you wouldn’t be here tonight. And I suspect as you relive those memories alongside the Browning family in Leaving Iowa you may find they’re less bitter in hindsight. In fact, you may remember them as fondly as I’ve come to remember the Texas sesquicentennial. Though if anyone knows a good therapist specializing in PTVD, my kids may be interested. We vacationed in Texas this year. There was a rare example of a surviving Whipple Truss I just had to show them.

Enjoy the show!
 - Eric Harrell

Performances of Leaving Iowa are in the Studio Theater:

September 17th & 18th and 23rd-25th at 8:00 p.m.

September 18th & 19th and 25th & 26th at 3:00 p.m.

To purchase tickets, call 352.4245 or visit the Box Office during office hours, Monday-Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For further information or to purchase tickets online, visit us at

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