Stuffing the kids in the family truckster for a road trip is a summertime rite of passage that never seems to die.
In the play “Leaving Iowa,” this rite lives on … and then some.
Playwrights Tim Clue and Spike Manton wrote the award-winning play about family and family vacations. It runs in Traverse City from May 30-June 14 at the Old Town Playhouse’s Studio Theatre.
Director Scott Bufe says from the time he and his wife first saw the play, he wanted to bring it to Traverse City.
“I saw this play several years ago in Chicago, and I knew I wanted to bring it here to our community theatre,” said Bufe. “It’s a wonderful play that I think we can all relate to.”
“Leaving Iowa” broke box office records at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Mich. and received a nomination for Best New Play from the Detroit Free Press.
The story follows Linda Miller and Joe Kilpatrick as “Mom & Dad” and Amber Carr- Kennedy and Cris Boyer as “Sis & Don middleaged writer Don Browning’s return to his Iowa hometown, where he decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home. But when Don discovers Grandma’s house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa in search of a proper resting place. As he drives familiar roads, the story shifts from the present to memories of his childhood annual – and torturous –vacations.
“Everyone I talk to has at least one story about a family car trip,” said Bufe, who grew up taking road trips back and forth to Northport from out of state. “That’s how we went on vacation – we all piled into the car.”
Bufe says that’s why the story has such a universal appeal. It’s all about being together – very close together – with family for hours on end.
“The fights, the singalongs – what parents did to make it enjoyable,” he said. “We all heard at least once, ‘I’ll pull this car over.’” Bufe said the story is a touching one. “It’s a universal experience in terms of the good and bad on a family vacation or road trip,” he said. “It’s also a very touching story about a child reconnecting with parents and understanding the lives of his parents.”
Showtimes are 7:30pm, Thurs.-Sat. and 3pm, Sun., June 8 at the Old Town Playhouse’s Studio Theatre, located at 620 Railroad Place in Traverse City. Tickets are $15 and are available through mynorthtickets.com.