ISU Theatre presents ‘Polaroid Stories,’ a fusion of epic myth and modern heartache

CATEGORIES: News, Students
Poster collage for Polaroid Stories, with illustrated red sneakers and daffodils

In ISU Theatre’s first production of its 2022-23 season, “Polaroid Stories,” a dynamic cast and creative team will present a lyrical whirlwind of classical mythology and contemporary storytelling. The show opens on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Fisher Theater and runs through the weekend.

Inspired by Roman poet Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and informed by interviews with young prostitutes and street kids, “Polaroid Stories” conveys psychic disturbance, confusion, and longing. The play, penned by playwright Naomi lizuka, is a mix of poetry and profanity as young people who are pushed to society’s fringe weave a dangerous and spell-binding tale of wild stories, clever lies, and ultimately, universal truths.

Faculty director Tiffany Johnson, assistant professor of practice in theatre, is leading the production alongside a talented cast and crew of students and theatre staff. With ISU Theatre’s many hands-on leadership opportunities, students are helping lead the design of lighting, costumes, sound, and props.

Polaroid Stories cast members in Fisher TheaterAshton Hale (’25 performing arts), who previously performed in ISU Theatre’s “BABA” and “Street Scene,” is taking on a new leadership challenge as a first-time associate director.

“It’s been incredible to see the effort and commitment being brought to the rehearsal space by every single person every night,” Hale said. “I was given the privilege to block and work on an entire scene by myself using the knowledge and advice I’ve gained from the director. It was a wonderful opportunity to work on and to see my vision for what I could offer to the show come to life. I cannot express my excitement to help present ‘Polaroid Stories.’”

Johnson said seeing the cast and crew flourish within a supportive community has been her biggest delight of the production so far.

“I have enjoyed watching this cast and crew of artists not only grow with this piece but also grow from this piece,” Johnson said. “Creating community with casts has been something that has become very important to me as a director. Realizing that this is an opportunity to put into practice the elements that make people work together, create space for one another, and create a network out of their peers is beautiful to witness. This play was a perfect reminder that no matter the story, there is always a human behind it.”

Performances are Oct. 6, 7, and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 2:00 p.m. in Fisher Theater. Tickets are general admission; $20 for adults and free for Iowa State students and youth. This play contains adult language and content. For ticket information, visit