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Map of My Kingdom-Presented by University of Indianapolis
November 13 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
“These stories are moving and engaging and remind us that we all share responsibility for the health of the land while we are here. Easy to mount, accessible and timely, Swander’s play is a catalyst to help audience members address issues of land transfer productively. This is art serving its purpose in a meaningful way.”
– Susan Wolverton – Professor of Theatre, Coe College
Who’s going to get the farm? And what are they going to do with it? Will your future plans for your land create harmony or strife for your family? Or have you even started to think that far ahead? Map of My Kingdom, a play commissioned by Practical Farmers of Iowa and written by Iowa’s Poet Laureate Mary Swander, tackles the critical issue of land transition. In the drama, Angela Martin, a lawyer and mediator in land transition disputes, shares stories of how farmers and landowners she has worked with over the years approached their land successions. Some families almost came to blows, struggling to resolve the sale or transfer of their land, dissolving relationships. Others found peacefully rational solutions that focused not only on the viability of the family, but also of the land.
Land is the thread that binds all of the stories together. “For most farmers I know, owning land means everything,” Angela Martin says. Map of My Kingdom will resonate with those who have been through or are working through challenging land transfer issues that include division of the land among siblings, to selling out to a neighbor, to attempts to preserve the land’s integrity against urban sprawl. The drama will inspire the hesitant and the fearful to start the conversation that cannot wait.
Today, a vast amount of land in the United States is owned by those over 65 years old. Some have made their wishes clear for the future of their property. Others are courting family upheaval by not planning in concrete ways. An age old problem, evident in literature from the Bible to King Lear to Willa Cather, land transition asks hard questions: Who really owns the land? And what is the role of the steward of a property? Can “fair” become “unfair” to one’s children?
Map of My Kingdom is directed by Matt Foss, Acting and Theatre history professor at The University of Idaho. Maria Vorhis will be the actor.
The play runs under 1 hour.
Mary Swander | Playwright
Mary Swander is the Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa. She has published over thirteen books of poetry and non-fiction, in addition to plays, radio and television scripts and magazine articles. She has appeared in such places as The New York Times Magazine, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, and Poetry Magazine. Swander’s plays Driving the Body Back, Vang, and Farmscape have toured the U.S. including a performance for Secretary Tom Vilsack and his staff at the U.S.D.A. Swander lives and raises most of her own food on a small acreage in the Amish settlement near Kalona, Iowa. She has experienced three generations of land transition within her own family.
Maria Vorhis | Actor and Booking Agent
￼Maria is a writer/performer, teaching artist, and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has
￼￼toured her solo show, “Are You There, George?” to fourteen venues in six cities, including Iowa City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, and Chicago, and was awarded “#1 Newbie of MN Fringe” by vita.mn. She is a former Artistic Associate with Working Group Theatre and Pictures, where she toured an anti-bullying youth show, “Out of Bounds,” across the Midwest and facilitated post-show discussions with middle school audiences and administrators. Film credits include web series, “Sad Dad” and feature film, “These Hopeless Savages,” for which she was awarded Best Supporting Actress by The Wild Rose Film Festival. In 2016 Maria wrote, produced, and acted in a short film, “Sexpert Franzen.” Maria enjoys teaching storytelling workshops to storytellers of all backgrounds, and has taught Advocacy Storytelling to women using social services, Personal Narrative to homeless individuals through Chicago Supportive Housing, and “Storytelling Seeds,” a beginners workshop, for which she was featured at the Witching Hour Festival in Iowa City. Maria currently works as a Certified TimeSlips Facilitator teaching improvisational storytelling to seniors with memory loss, and hosts a monthly open-mic storytelling event in Lincoln Square. Maria graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa. www.mariavorhis.com
Matt Foss | Director
Matt Foss’ production of Six Characters received 5 Kennedy Center Awards in 2012 including: National Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Lighting Design, 3 Distinguished Performance Awards, and Distinguished Production and Performance Ensemble Award. Foss studied theatre at Roosevelt University in Chicago and in Moscow. He received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 2013. Currently, he is an assistant professor at the University of Idaho.