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Dreamwell presents romantic comedy set during WWII

BY SAMANTHA GENTRY | FEBRUARY 10, 2011 7:10 AM

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Two actors. That’s all it takes to put on a production of two lovers during World War II. They may rehearse in the attic of a church with low ceilings and a draft, but thatdoesn’t stop the two actors from getting into character.

“When there are only two people on stage, you have to be much more aware of what you’re doing because you’re the only thing the audience is looking at,” said actor Kevin Moore. “The relationship between those people becomes a much stronger focus for the whole show.”

Moore, along with cast member Ottavia de Luca, will perform Last Train to Nibroc at 7:30 p.m. today at the Universalist Unitarian Society, 10 S. Gilbert St. Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday; admission is $8 for students, $10 for seniors, and $12 for the general public.

The romance follows the 1940s story of May and Raleigh, who meet on a train in Kentucky. They are strangers dealing with different hardships in their lives: May is expected to be married and Raleigh is supposed to leave for the war. In the span of three years, the two fall in and out of love, while dealing with the effects of the war on the world around them.

Moore plays the role of Raleigh, a carefree guy who is forced to grow up quickly while changing the way he looks at the world.

“In the face of having gone through the current wars, I can appreciate that lost of zest that Raleigh goes through,” he said.

He recently became the president of Dreamwell Theatre, so he is aware of what happens with each show and ensures that’s where the focus is each week.

De Luca was born in Italy and grew up in Europe and San Francisco. She has been acting since she was 8, and she came to Iowa City out of love, like her character.

May is very religious, silly, and brave, but afraid to admit to Raleigh that she is in love with him. De Luca said she is headstrong and stubborn like her character but at the same time very different.

“She’s a very good girl since she’s religious and I’m just not like that,” de Luca said sarcastically.

Last Train to Nibroc is the first play of Dreamwell’s Spring 2011 War and Consequences series, and the play deals with that concept directly, showing how the war affects their life in dramatic ways.

“It’s a romance, but there’s a lot of meat on its bones,” said director Rachael Lindhart. “There is a deep background, and it’s really well-written.”

Lindhart, originally from Humboldt, Iowa, has been directing for Dreamwell Theatre for about 10 years. Moore and de Luca have worked with Lindhart previously, but this is the first time she has directed them.

In addition to being a romantic play, Last Train to Nibroc is also a comedy, Lindhardt believes. But Moore feels that despite the uplifting delivery, the play has a powerful message.

“I think Last Train to Nibroc focuses on an aspect of American life that we don’t usually think about,” Moore said. “It’s a much closer look on what everyone else had to go through when people were off at war.”


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