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'Leaving Iowa' finds it way to Worthington's Pioneer Village

The "Leaving Iowa" cast of Marlene Jueneman (from left), Jessica Hieronimus, Jared VanderVeen and Daryl Hrdlicka are shown during their Tuesday night rehearsal at the Village Hall in Worthington's Pioneer Village.

WORTHINGTON -- "Leaving Iowa," a production by Grassroots Community Theatre, will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 12-14 in the Village Hall of Pioneer Village. An "Iowa supper" will precede the play from 6:45-7:45 p.m. in the Village Saloon.

Mary Jane Mardesen, Grassroots member and play director, said the show revolves around a family road trip and is sprinkled with humor that stems from a typical family vacation.

"It's kind of a rite of passage play because there's a revelation for the son when you get to the end of the play," Mardesen said. "He doesn't appreciate his dad much when he's young, but looking back he starts to think the dad wasn't so bad after all."

There's a combination of things happening during the course of the play, she said. The son relives summer trips taken with his family during his adolescent years.

"It starts out with the dad falling asleep at the wheel," Mardesen said. "He fights it, but suddenly we have a gigantic honk that wakes up everyone."

The brother and sister constantly bicker with each other during the trips, Mardesen said, adding that they throw candy and pull each other's hair.

Daryl Hrdlicka plays the father, and said the role isn't too far off from his real life.

"I love to tell my family fascinating facts and they don't really care, but they put up with me because we're family," Hrdlicka said, chuckling. "It's a very fun show, well written and entertaining."

Jared VanderVeen plays the brother, Jessica Hieronimus is the sister and Marlene Jueneman plays the mom trying to keep everyone together.

During Tuesday night's rehearsal, the cast sat on stage in their makeshift car, cracking jokes and making each other laugh.

"I'm looking forward to getting myself out there and being the center of attention," VanderVeen said, jokingly.

"Pretty much anyone who's ever gone anywhere with their family will identify (with the play)," Hieronimus said.

Mardesen said people should come for the entertainment and the home-cooked supper.

"It's a chance to come to Pioneer Village and step back in time -- we're really primitive here," she said.

It's important to get people to understand how much fun theatre can be, and what a good effect it can have on your life, Mardesen said.

"I taught high school and college, and I've seen kids become so much more confident once they had a part and they did it well," Mardesen said. "The best part is seeing these guys strut their stuff.

"They have come a long way," she said softly, tears in her eyes.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.