CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Iowa Playwrights Festival, May 4-9 at UI, spotlights 19 scripts in
productions and readings
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Playwrights Festival, May 4-9 in the University
of Iowa Theatre Building, will spotlight 19 new, student-written scripts
in public productions and readings.
The festival schedule includes four full Festival Mainstage productions
at 5:30 and 9 p.m. May 4, 7, 8 and 9; a Workshop Production of two one-acts
at 5:30 and 9 p.m. May 5; a Staged Reading at 5:30 and 9 p.m. May 6; and
free Cameo Readings at 1:30 p.m. each day of the festival. (Note that the
9 p.m. time is a change from the schedule that has appeared in some calendars.)
Most of the scripts were written by students in the Iowa Playwrights
Workshop, a Master of Fine Arts graduate program in the UI department of
theatre arts. The full Festival Mainstage productions of Iowa Playwrights
Workshop scripts are:
* May 4 in the David Thayer Theatre -- "Mando y Mundo" by
Lorenzo Sandoval, a drama in which two brothers confront their personal
differences and a secret of family history that will transform them forever;
* May 7 in the David Thayer Theatre -- Leah Ryan's "Raised by Lesbians,"
an American comedy that the playwright describes as "Ed Wood meets
Holden Caulfield at the Mall, where no 16-year-old wants to be seen with
their parents, lesbian or not";
* May 8 on the E.C. Mabie Theatre stage -- "A Wild Romp through
the Endocrine Canal" by Amy Wheeler, chronicling the sometimes funny
and sometimes terrifying adventures of a young woman rushed to an emergency
* May 9 in Theatre B -- Levy "Lee" Simon's "The Bow Wow
Club," a no-holds-barred reunion that tests the meanings of friendship,
marriage and community.
The May 5 Workshop Production on the E.C. Mabie Theatre stage will feature
"The Samsas" by Scott Working and "The Desert Play"
by Margaret Baldwin. "The Samsas" is a new twist on Kafka's "Metamorphosis,"
and "The Desert Play" is a contemporary version of the Saturn
myth, in which the primal god devours his children.
Two scenes from Bob Berky's "The Dictator's Nose" will be
offered in the May 6 Staged Reading in Theatre B. Berky is an internationally
renowned theatrical clown, and in this comedy he depicts a nation thrown
into chaos by the disappearance of the image of the tyrant's nose at the
most important rally of the year.
Admission to the Festival Mainstage productions is $6 ($3 for UI students,
senior citizens and those 17 and younger). The Workshop Productions double-bill
is $2; and the Staged Reading is $1. Tickets are available at the Theatre
Building Box Office one hour before performance times, and in advance noon
to 1:30 p.m. April 30, May 1, and May 4-8.
The free graduate-playwright Cameo Readings in the Cosmo Catalano Acting
Studio will be: ""Pitbulls and Daffodils" by Levy "Lee"
Simon on May 4; "Bleach" by Leah Ryan on May 5; "Rabelais"
by Lorenzo Sandoval on May 6; and "The Redness of the Woodpecker"
by Bob Berky on May 7.
The Undergraduate Cameo Readings in the David Thayer Theatre will be
presented in two sets: "Raymond" by Wesley Broulik, "All
Over" by Rob Frisch and "Family Dramatics" by Will Nedved
on May 8; and "Questioning Jabe" by Tanna Frederick, "Reconstruction"
by Michael Ehlert, "The Way of Things" by Mandi Lee, "Treasure
Box" by Helene Lubaroff and "Across the Universe" by Elise
Gustafson on May 9.
Guest theater professionals will respond to the festival productions:
-- Iowa Playwrights Workshop and Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Lee
Blessing, an internationally produced playwright and screenwriter whose
play "A Walk in the Woods" was a finalist for the Tony Award
and the Pulitzer Prize;
-- playwright Nilo Cruz, a member of New Dramatists who was artist-in-residence
at the Public Theatre in New York;
-- freelance dramaturg and editor Sydne Mahone, former director of play
development at the Crossroads Theatre Company, founder of the Genesis Festival:
A Celebration of New Voices in African American Theatre, and dramaturg
for plays by August Wilson, George C. Wolfe and Rita Dove;
-- Vicky Boone, the artistic director of Frontera at Hyde Park Theatre
in Austin, Texas, where she is producing the work of UI alumnus David Hancock;
-- Iowa Playwrights Festival regular Morgan Jenness, a dramaturg, writer
and director who is a member of the faculty at Fordham University, and
has been associate producer of the New York Shakespeare Festival and associate
artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop.
The guests will discuss their work in a series of 3 p.m. Guest Profile
sessions in the Cosmo Catalano Acting Studio: Mahone and Jenness on May
5; Boone on May 6; and Blessing and Cruz on May 8. The Guest Profile sessions
are free and the public is invited to attend.
The Iowa Playwrights Festival is a unique event in college theater.
Each spring the UI Department of Theatre Arts directs virtually all its
academic, technical and production resources to the performance and discussion
of new plays from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Many of the plays developed through the Iowa Playwrights Workshop have
gone on to successful professional productions, have been honored with
theatrical awards or have been invited to theater festivals. For example,
Peter Ullian's "In the Shadow of the Terminal Tower" was selected
by Harold Prince for development as a musical, and as "Eliot Ness
in Cleveland" it premiered this season in Denver. Naomi Wallace's
Iowa Playwrights Festival scripts "The War Boys" and "In
the Heart of America" have been given major productions in London.
And Robert Alexander's "Preface to the Alien Garden" is in the
midst of a series of productions throughout the country. Kate Aspengren,
who is now a faculty playwright-in-residence, presented "Dear Mrs.
Martin" in the festival, where it was seen by a representative of
the Samuel French publishing house, leading to the script's publication
and availability to theaters throughout the country.
Some of the scripts in the 1998 Iowa Playwrights Festival contain material
of an adult nature. Potential audience members who are concerned about
whether the productions are appropriate for them should contact the Department
of Theatre Arts, (319) 335-2700) for more information.