Take a trip to the ‘Starlight All Night Diner’ with ISU Theatre

CATEGORIES: News, Students
Graphic illustration including dinosaur, coffee pot, fork, and planet

Prepare to travel back in time – way back in time – when ISU Theatre’s “Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner” opens Thursday, Feb. 29, in Fisher Theater.

Written by playwright Darcy Parker Bruce, this show is a quirky, queer time-travel adventure with dinosaurs. Described as a cross between “Jurassic Park,” “Back to the Future,” and “Fried Green Tomatoes,” audiences will find that the stakes are more than life and death in this charming love story. They’re life or extinction.

Along with the play’s unique premise, ISU Theatre has given this production a few other innovative features. It is staged in the round, and all audience members will be seated on the stage. The audience will be so close they just might be able to read the daily specials on the diner menu.

It’s also the first time a main stage ISU Theatre production will be entirely student-designed. Students interviewed for the positions of scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer, props designer, and costume designer last spring. Some of their challenging tasks have included bringing to life a soundscape including dinosaurs, creating authentic props for audience members watching from a few feet away, and designing a set visible from four angles.

“This is my first fully realized main stage scenic design,” said the show’s scenic designer, Bobbie Buie (’25 English, performing arts). “This is also my first time designing for a show in the round, which doesn’t exactly throw the old rules out the window, but it certainly turns them on their head. Having to consider four varying audience perspectives and how to give them a unique but equally potent experience was an exciting challenge and a wonderful learning opportunity to complete.”

For students like Buie, who has professional ambitions in scenic or lighting design, the opportunity for students to lead the design team was a dream come true.

“I was quite happy about it,” Buie said. “It’s a great opportunity to grow as an artist, and I have many talented peers. It’s been especially exciting to see them express their full potential as artists and to heavily collaborate with them.”

LAS Dean’s Artist-in-Residence Heather Currie directs the production. Currie is an ensemble member with Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, where she works as a director, writer, and actor. In addition to her career in professional theatre, Currie has taught theatre and film in higher education for 30 years. She teaches in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago and the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Ticket information

Performances are Feb. 29, March 1, and March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 3:00 p.m. in Fisher Theater. The run time is approximately 60 minutes with no intermission.

Tickets are general admission: $20 for adults and free for Iowa State students. Due to the unique audience seating arrangements, there are limited tickets available for each show. Advance purchase, including the free student tickets, is strongly recommended. For ticket information, visit theatre.iastate.edu.

This show contains adult language, haze, and strobing lights.