CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
NOTE TO EDITORS: The report still is that Iowa Summer Rep is selling
"tons of tickets." Several performances of the first two productions
are sold out. Although "Woman in Mind" is staged in a space with
many more seats than the other two shows, we suggest that you check with
the box office just before publishing or broadcasting this story, so that
you can give your audience the most up-to-date information on ticket availability.
Iowa Summer Rep '98 festival of Ayckbourn comedies hits high gear
with 'Woman in Mind'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Summer Rep's 1998 festival of Alan Ayckbourn
comedies will hit high gear with the opening of "Woman in Mind"
at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 9 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa
Theatre Building. With the opening of "Woman in Mind," all three
of the festival's major productions will be running simultaneously. Additional
performances of "Woman in Mind," will be at 8 p.m. July 10, 11,
16, 17, and 18.
The hilarity of "Woman in Mind" begins when Susan, an unhappy
suburban housewife, steps on a garden rake and knocks herself out. When
she regains consciousness she discovers herself with two lives -- one as
the unappreciated housewife and one as the adored center of a wealthy family.
As she tries to determine what is fantasy, what is real and whether
it all really matters, she meets a crabby widow who cooks Earl Grey omelets,
a son who belongs to a silent cult and a macrame-making doctor who has
a passion for his patient.
Robb Gries writes in the Iowa Summer Rep program notes, "Of all
of Ayckbourn's plays, 'Woman in Mind' deals most explicitly with themes
of male neglect of women. Susan's husband, Gerald, the local vicar, pays
no attention to her emotional or physical needs. Her son Rick refuses to
talk to her and blames her for his unhappiness. As a result, the accident
causes her to slip slowly into a state which may or may not be madness.
The ideal family she imagines for herself and the actual one she is stuck
with collide. . . . We experience both of her realities equally, and are
left as she is, trying to make sense of them."
Unlike Ayckbourn's other plays in Iowa Summer Rep, which occur realistically
in recognizable domestic locations, "Woman in Mind" takes place
in Susan's head. His stage directions indicate, "Throughout the play,
we will hear what she hears; see what she sees. A subjective viewpoint
therefore, and one that may be somewhat less than accurate."
"In his later plays Ayckbourn has been experimenting with how fantasy
and reality play off each other in our lives," says director Eric
Forsythe, the UI theater faculty member who is also the artistic director
of Iowa Summer Rep. "'Woman in Mind' asks the question: What if we
couldn't really tell the difference between the two? What would be the
"As always with Ayckbourn, the answers are inventive and surprising.
Susan, the woman in whose mind we are wandering, THINKS she can manage,
but the other characters have their own agendas, and she has to struggle
to keep control. Her struggle is the focus and delight of the play."
Other artistic contributors to "Woman in Mind" include scenic
and costume designer
Dan Nemteanu, lighting designer Bryon Winn and sound designer Mark Bruckner.
Ayckbourn is one of Britain's most popular and prolific playwrights,
and has even been labeled the "British Neil Simon." His 50+ plays
have won seven London Evening Standard Awards and the Dramalogue Critics
Award. They have been translated into more than 30 languages, are performed
on stage and television throughout the world, and have been filmed in English
and French. Ayckbourn was recently knighted for his services to British
Tickets for "Woman in Mind" are $15 ($8 for UI students, senior
citizens and youth), and are available in advance from the Hancher box
office. If any tickets remain for a performance, they will be available
one hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.
Dinner at "Betty Windsor's Cafe" will be available on the
Theatre Building plaza, overlooking the Iowa River, beginning at 6 p.m.
before evening performances .
This season's fare, specially planned by the Iowa Memorial Union's catering
service, will harmonize with Ayckbourn's decidedly British humor. Dinner
selections will include: appetizers of fig raisin walnut tart with Stilton
cheese, strawberry apple soup with honey yogurt, and watercress smoked
trout salad; entrees of fish and chips, a ploughman's plate and sherried
mushroom crust; and desserts of lemon curd tart with candied ginger and
fresh strawberries and cream shortbread. Dinner reservations are recommended,
by calling (319) 335-3105. Cash, check or UI charge are accepted for dinner
payment, but credit cards are not.
Summer Rep subscriptions -- which are $36 ($21 for UI students, senior
citizens and youth) -- offer substantial discounts to all three Ayckbourn
Festival shows. The other productions are "Table Manners" and
"Bedroom Farce." A free Iowa Summer Rep brochure is available
from the box office, or from the UI Department of Theatre Arts, (319) 335-2700.
Hancher summer box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. From
the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance
within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319)
353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express.
UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI
faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. People with
special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319)
335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment
who use that technology.
Iowa Summer Rep is a professional theater company that each season presents
a festival of plays by a single contemporary playwright. The University
of Iowa Community Credit Union is the corporate sponsor of Iowa Summer
* * *
IOWA SUMMER REP '98 (performances at 8 p.m. unless otherwise
June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (2 p.m.), 28, 30
July 4 (6 p.m.), 5 (2 p.m.), 7, 12 (2 p.m.), 15, 19
July 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 14, 19 (2 p.m.), 22, 23, 24, 25
"Woman in Mind"
July 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18
"Time of My Life" Reading