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UI Theater department performs Sidewinders

BY JORDAN MONTGOMERY | MARCH 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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The play Sidewinders deals with how defining something can only get one so far and that acceptance is important.

University of Iowa graduate student Basil Kreimendahl wrote the play, which follows the journey of Bailey and Dakota as they find themselves in a odd world full of stranger characters.

Sidewinders is part of the Theatre Department's Gallery Series; performances will occur at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. March 4 in Theatre Building's Theatre B. Admission is free for UI students with valid student IDs, $5 for general admission.

"Two lost people are trying to find out where they are and also who they are as people," said stage manager Michael Turczynski. "They are off in the a magical wilderness land where things don't seem right-side up or upside down."

The play is advertised as an absurdist-Western gender-queer romp. Kreimendahl is also a founder of Out on the Edge: Louisville's Queer Youth Playwrights Collective and Louisville Dramatists.

The two characters Bailey and Dakota don't know who they are on the spectrum of male or female, Turczynski said. After meeting a third character, Sandy (graduate student Andres Enriquez), they find the answer becomes even more difficult.

"Sandy is a beautiful creature," Enriquez said. "That's what I'll say about him or her. That's the conundrum we're having — most of the cast calls Sandy a her, but because I'm playing him, I say him.

"Sandy loves. That goes for nearly everything that she interacts with, including herself. Yet, she struggles so much because she lives in a world where she loves so much, yet those who see her make judgments and assumptions. They don't ever dig through her outer layer. And it's heartbreaking."

Production Director Nathan Halvorson says personal investment in a work always makes the work better. When the performers in the room care about the work, everyone in the theater feels the difference, he said

"I am passionate about this one," he said. "It's a very personal story, because it's talking about gender identity and sexuality, and I've done my fair share of struggling with those notions. But I would be lying if I didn't say it has enriched my understanding of it."

Despite the serious themes Sidewinders tackles, Turczynski says that deeper messages are presented with a lot of comedy.

And Halvorson agrees.

"I am making the play sound heavy, but it's actually just stupid funny," he said. "I hope people just laugh and laugh."


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