A Remarkable Tribute to The Greatest Generation to Play Babka Theatre

Oct 12, 2017

DUBUQUE, Iowa – University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center continues its new B.I.T.E Size Series with The Accidental Hero: A WWII Story on Friday, Nov. 10, at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Babka Theatre. The performance is a multimedia one-man show about a WWII American officer who miraculously liberates the Czech villages of his grandparents. It's a true story, written and performed by the officer’s grandson, Patrick Dewane.

B.I.T.E. stands for Babka Intimate Theatre Experiences. The new series of four events showcases one-person or small cast performances in the intimate setting of Heritage Center’s black box venue, Babka Theatre. With a maximum capacity of around 200, Babka Theatre offers general admission and stadium-style seating.

WHAT:             Live at Heritage Center B.I.T.E. Size Series – The Accidental Hero

WHEN:             Friday, Nov. 10 – 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:           Babka Theatre, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque

TICKETS:        $15 adult, $13 UD alumni, $9 child/student
                       Note: Veterans, active military, and reserve components are eligible for free admission courtesy of Radio Dubuque. A
                       ticket is still required.

Dewane brings an archival of treasures he found in his late grandfather’s basement to glowing life as an enthralling, humorous, and heartwarming tale of miraculous escapes and astonishing coincidences. This touching show runs from belly laughs to tears while Dewane recalls the words and ways of Matt Konop. Dewane takes on a dozen roles as he powerfully recounts his grandfather's journey from Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, and the end of WWII.

Konop's story turns away from a soldier's survival tale to one of amazing coincidence. As he freed the Czechs, they liberated him. Yet, like many of his generation, Konop didn't talk about the war when he returned. His story vanished with passing time. Back in Czechoslovakia, the communist coup of 1948 brought a repressive regime that would last the rest of Konop's life. The Communist regime also changed the official history of WWII and eliminated the fact that the U.S. Army had liberated Southwestern Czechoslovakia. So while Konop's story faded in America, it was illegal to tell it in Czechoslovakia.

Twenty years after his death, Konop’s long-forgotten writings were discovered in a family basement. These are the treasures that caused Dewane to become obsessed with what was found, and he turned the story, film footage, and period music into The Accidental Hero – a 90-minute one-man show. 

The Accidental Hero is a unique and intimate opportunity to share in American history. Representatives of Historic Holmes Theatre raved, “This show connects people. It’s real. It sparks a relevant conversation. We’ve had it three times and will bring it back again!”

A Q&A discussion with the performer follows both performances. The Bisignano Art Gallery, adjacent to Babka Theatre, will host a closing reception for the fifth annual International Photography Exhibition prior to the afternoon performance of The Accidental Hero from noon to 3:30 p.m.

Other upcoming 2017-2018 B.I.T.E. Size Series events include:

March 19 - 7:30 p.m.                 Charles Lindbergh: The Lone Eagle, starring Steve Carroll

March 20 - 3:30 p.m.

April 13 - 7:30 p.m.                   6 Guitars, starring Chase Padgett

Tickets for The Accidental Hero can be purchased Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Farber Box Office, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque, 2255 Bennett Street; by phone at 563.585.SHOW; or online at www.dbq.edu/heritagecenter.