CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Iowa Summer Rep '98 will be festival of comedies by British playwright
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Summer Rep, the University of Iowa professional
company that each season presents a festival of plays by a single contemporary
playwright, has chosen its playwright for the summer of 1998. It's one
of Britain's most popular and widely-produced comic playwrights, Sir Alan
Iowa Summer Rep will produce Ayckbourn's "Table Manners" (the
first play in the famous "Norman Conquests" trilogy), "Bedroom
Farce" and "Woman in Mind," June 24 through July 25 in the
UI Theatre Building. Series subscriptions to Iowa Summer Rep will go on
sale April 13 at the Hancher Auditorium box office. The festival will also
present a July 21 reading of an Ayckbourn script yet to be selected.
A free Iowa Summer Rep brochure is available from the box office or
from the UI department of theatre arts, (319) 335-2700. The brochure will
arrive at the end of April.
Ayckbourn has spent his entire career in theater, as a stage manager,
sound technician, lighting technician, scene painter, prop maker, actor
and director. He is now artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre
in Scarborough. Fortunately for theatergoers everywhere who like to laugh,
he also tried his hand at playwriting.
Since his first hit, "Relatively Speaking," opened in 1967,
Ayckbourne has written more than 50 plays, with major successes including
"Absurd Person Singular," "The Norman Conquests," "Bedroom
Farce," "Just Between Ourselves," "A Chorus of Disapproval,"
"Woman in Mind," "A Small Family Business" and "Man
of the Moment."
"Alan Ayckbourn is Britain's most prolific contemporary playwright,
arguably the most popular, and, in my view, one of the greatest,"
says Iowa Summer Rep Artistic Director Eric Forsythe, a faculty member
in the UI department of theatre arts. "His plays cover the gamut of
modern experience, focusing on our strategies of dealing with the banal
and humdrum challenges of everyday life. The pleasure in Ayckbourn is watching
extraordinary solutions to ordinary problems . . . what he writes shimmers
with theatrical inventiveness."
His plays have won numerous awards, including seven London Evening Standard
Awards and the 1991 Dramalogue Critics Award for "Henceforward."
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. "By Jeeves," which he wrote in collaboration with
Andrew Lloyd Webber, has just finished a successful London run and is currently
playing successfully all over America.
Ayckbourn's other honors include the Writers' Guild of Great Britain
Lifetime Achievement Award and the 1994 Montblanc de la Culture Award for
Europe, and he was recently knighted for his services to British theater.
"Table Manners," which opens June 24 in Theatre B, asks the
theatrical question, "What happens when Annie seeks one wonderful,
wild weekend away from her bedridden mother and enlists the help of her
bossy sister?" The answer involves a bashful vet, a cat with an injured
paw, a car with ignition problems and the irresponsible, egocentric husband
of her other sister.
"Bedroom Farce" will open July 1 in the David Thayer Theater.
All of this play's escalating misadventures occur during one extraordinary
winter night. The comings and goings in three separate bedrooms grow hilariously
out of control as Trevor and Susannah try to save their marriage, and thereby
wreak havoc in the lives of three other couples.
The comedy of "Woman in Mind" begins when an average working-class
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 omelettes, a son who belongs
to a silent cult, and a macrame-making doctor who has a passion for his
The University of Iowa Community Credit Union is the corporate sponsor
of Iowa Summer Rep.
Iowa Summer Rep subscriptions are $36 ($21 for UI students, senior citizens
Individual tickets for Iowa Summer Rep productions will go on sale May
11. Single ticket prices will be $15 ($8 for UI students, senior citizens
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. 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 should dial (319) 335-1158
* * *
IOWA SUMMER REP '98
A Summer of British Comedy/Three Plays by Alan Ayckbourn
(performances at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (2 pm), 28, 30
July 4 (6 pm), 5 (2 pm), 7, 12 (2 pm), 15, 19
David Thayer Theatre
July 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 14, 19 (2 pm), 22, 23, 24, 25
"Woman in Mind"
E. C. Mabie Theatre
July 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18