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Freezer Dreams opens today

BY ALYSSA MARIE HARN | NOVEMBER 04, 2010 7:20 AM

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The small white theater room is filled with deep breaths and stretched bodies as two actors prepare themselves and face each other. Dressed in a sweat shirt, skinny jeans, and Converses, Julie Daniels opens her mouth and screams her lines at a fellow cast member, shattering the otherwise relaxed atmosphere of rehearsal.

Daniels, a University of Iowa theater student, is one of six characters in the University Theatres Gallery Production Freezer Dreams, which will début at 8 p.m. today. The play will run at 8 p.m. through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Theatre Building’s Theatre B. Admission is free for UI students with valid IDs, $5 for general admission.

Freezer Dreams, written by UI graduate student Jess Foster, focuses on 16-year-old Kadijah’s struggle with the limitations of a medical condition that leaves her trapped inside her house. Foster wrote Freezer Dreams last year after being inspired by an image of a girl in a life vest full of ice packs to keep her cool because of a medical condition.

Although the play was written as a drama, she said, the comedic undertones are what interest her the most.

“There are some serious things that happen in the play, but the humor is what gets me through writing it, and I really hope the audience gets the humor,” she said.

The play features many prop-heavy dream sequences, some of which involve ice-cream cones and ice packs. These scenes showcase the recurring theme of imagination versus reality. The drama also explores family ties and sibling dynamics as Kadijah, played by Daniels, interacts with her controlling mother and her shy younger sister.

Daniels wants the audience to think about the themes of attention, divorce, gay rights and how those issues can affect a family.

“I really want the audience to come out with an understanding of the different characters and their motivations,” she said. “I want them to relate.”

Theresa Augsberger, a UI student and the play’s director, said she wants the audience to feel a connection with someone or something in the play.

“I want the play to strike the audience in some way,” said the theater major. “I want each person to connect with the play, even in a small way.”

Freezer Dreams is the largest play Augsberger has directed, and she said she has enjoyed working on the production. For example, the cast participated in improv exercises during rehearsals that added to the comfortable working atmosphere.

“The whole process has been great, and it is because of the people I have been working with,” Augsberger said. “This has very much been a play of all of us working as an ensemble to bring it to the stage.”

Foster said the small cast has helped each member create tight bonds with the others. Freezer Dreams will be the first UI theater performance for four of the cast members in the play. Daniels said she enjoyed working with new people.

“It was really cool to go to rehearsal and not to really know anyone, and I think it also really helped us in our characters bonds, because you got to know someone in that relationship without ‘prestanding’ things,” Daniels said.

Though the cast members began as strangers, they grew together to make Freezer Dreams successful. Augsberger said all of the actors have made the directing process a great experience.

“All of my actors are very talented. They are very smart, and they really care about theater and about this play, and about what they are doing,” she said. “It’s just actually been a real joy working on this piece.”


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