When addiction and violent crime happen, the families of the perpetrators are often left out of the conversation.
Iowa-based playwright Jennifer Fawcett’s new play Apples in Winter gives us a complicated and emotional glimpse of the burden that these families carry through the story of Robert. Robert has been on death row for 22 years after committing a horrible crime while in the grips of withdrawal, and his mother Miriam grants his final meal request for a slice of her homemade apple pie.
"Throughout the play she's really struggling with this terrible question of how did I get here," Fawcett says. "To make food is to give comfort. But by making this pie is she also participating in this other ritual of execution?"
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Fawcett about the writing of Apples in Winter and about why it is so important to present the human side of issues of violence and addiction.
"It's an opportunity for empathy," Fawcett says.
Apples in Winter, which won the National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theatre, premiered in Iowa City at the Riverside Theatre and continues through March 18.
As part of the production, Riverside is partnering with local groups including CRUSH of Iowa (Community Resources United to Stop Heroin), InsideOut Reentry, and the University of Iowa College of Public Health to set up a series of post-show panel discussions that will highlight some of the issues that the play brings to light.