Love and Honor

Stefanie Buhrman

One of Iowa State’s professors is showcasing her theatrical creation, “Love and Honor,” for one more weekend.

“It’s a play I wrote about Iowa during the Civil War,” said Jane Cox, professor of music and director and writer of the play. “It’s based off the letters, narratives and diaries written.”

The story’s main characters are four soldiers serving in the Union Army. One, from Des Moines, is married and has a daughter. The second, a farm boy, is engaged and very religious. The other two characters are brothers – the younger thinks the war will be fun and exciting, while the older brother takes the war more seriously and wants to honor his family.

“It covers the beginning to the end of the Civil War, all the way through,” said Phillip Schmidt, senior in mathematics, who plays the younger brother.

The play’s basis on authentic records brings history into the narrative and shows similarities between the issues of the period and those of today.

“I think it is important to know our past history,” Cox said. “You would be surprised how contemporary it is. There are old issues and issues we are still trying to solve. Some apply to situations going on today.”

Most of the actors were impressed by how well the source material translated into the script.

“It’s really interesting how Jane made the play out of actual letters from the era,” said Kyle Phillips, sophomore in performing arts, who plays the older brother. “It’s neat how she formatted it into action and a story.”

The stage design also makes use of artifacts from the Civil War.

“The designer is wonderful,” Cox said. “It uses the first photographs of the Civil War. They are really old photographs – 140 years old. It’s part of the scenery that you can see.”

In the opening performance on Feb. 29, the cast showed its talent and experience.

“Starting out was a slow process,” Phillips said. “We had trouble getting lines right, but for the show we had everything down.”

Despite the fact that everything has been put together nicely for this weekend’s last showings, the experience was still a new one for Schmidt.

“This is my first play in college I acted in,” Schmidt said. “I had a class with a bunch of theater people who convinced me to try out.”

Trying out for a play about war was a good choice for Schmidt, since he is also a member of the National Guard.

“As far as I can tell, it makes me stand at attention better,” Schmidt said. “I can relate to it more. Some things are funnier to me.”

Schmidt had a few small difficulties in his performance, but dealt with them well.

“There have been one or two spots where I’ve missed a line,” Schmidt said. “I notice I say it wrong, then I have to rephrase it. Most of the shows, I get people to laugh. I’m kind of a comic relief character.”

Both Schmidt and Cox agree that “Love and Honor” was successful and feel positive heading into closing weekend.

“Everything is going well,” Cox said. “I am proud of the students on stage; the students backstage are doing a phenomenal job.”

Phillips said the play should appeal to a large audience.

“I would say that anyone who enjoys theater [would enjoy ‘Love and Honor’],” he said. “It’s not a normal play that everyone knows. No one really knows the story.”

“Love and Honor:”

Where: Fisher Theater

When: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

Cost: $7 for students, $14 for the general public.