Mount Mercy hosts acclaimed 'Farmscape' performance this fall

What's the David and Goliath story in America today? Mount Mercy University invites audiences to discover for themselves during the thought-provoking theatre play Farmscape: Documenting the Changing Rural Environment, on September 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the McAuley Theater.

Directed and produced by acclaimed Poet Laureate of Iowa Mary Swander and her team of graduate students at Iowa State University, Farmscape will change the way Iowans think about their food forever.

A compelling non-fiction play based on interviews of real people dealing with the challenges of trying to make a living in the changing rural environment, this 'docu-drama' creates compelling dialogue among hard working people attempting to sustain their family farms, ward off urban sprawl, and find new crops and markets that suit their lifestyles and values.

The drama brings together ten characters in a tightly-knit conversation as they bump up against the forces of industrial agriculture. While some embrace it, others are left to question the use of genetically modified organisms, animal confinement, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and meat slaughtering houses.

Through rich dialogue and compelling conversation, audiences will take a journey through the changing rural landscape. Through the stage productions, viewers will be able to imagine the taste of fresh vegetables on a truck on its way to the local farmer's market, make a stop at a bed and breakfast and Hispanic cultural center and gaze out the window at restored wetlands and prairie. They'll experience the sensation of suiting up in protective clothing before entering a hog confinement operation and watch pigs move quickly down a conveyor belt at a slaughtering plant. Audiences can see for themselves an organic farmer up against the economic forces of the 3,500-acre agri-business operation next door.

Mary Swander is from a pioneer homesteading family and has been raising most of her own food for thirty years. She has written extensively about gardening and farming for such places as National Gardening Magazine, Green Prints, The Christian Science Monitor, the Des Moines Register and She is well known for her co-authored book gardening interviews, Parsnips in the Snow, and her memoir Out of this World about living among the Amish. In addition, Swander has written numerous plays, musicals, radio commentaries, and performed her own work across the country and in Europe. Currently, she is the Poet Laureate of Iowa. 

The performance is free and open to the public. Seating may be limited.

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