CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 20, 2000
International collaboration is Partnership in the Arts
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University Theatres Mainstage series
will present the world premiere of "When the Angels of Heaven Saw the
Daughters of Man . . ," an international collaboration that is this seasons
Partnership in the Arts project in the University of Iowa department of theatre
arts, Nov. 2-12. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 2-5 and 8-12 in the E.C.
Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building.
The visiting collaborators include playwright/director
Erik Ehn; American artists Laurie Carlos from the Twin Cities and Grisha Coleman
from New York, both former members of the Urban Bush Women dance/theater company;
and Serbians Sanja Krsmanovic Tasic and Maja Mitic from the Dah Teatar in
Ehn says the new, evolving project took its impetus from
verses at the start of Genesis 6 that describe a time after Eden and before
the Flood, when humanity was so lovely to the sight of heaven that angels
descended and intermarried with mortals, producing a race of giants. The international
ensemble of 17 actors, writers, composers, musicians and dancers use this
source to meditate on themes of perfect love, and then too-perfect love.
"What is it like to win heavens desire, and
what could the Flood be in this compact?" Ehn asks. "Perhaps God
doesnt speak the language of humans; perhaps Gods word for love
is water -- and we drowned not for punishment, but because of
a failure of poetics."
"When the Angels of Heaven . . ." is a project
emphasizing the creative process, and it will continue to develop throughout
the performance run.
The new collaboration grew out of an ad hoc organization
of out-of-the-mainstream theater artists, the RAT Conference. Last winter
the UI hosted a RAT Conference entitled, "Theater and War: Uses of Art,"
which attracted theater companies and artists from around the globe -- artists
who live on the edge, scramble together an existence, and take chances.
What does RAT stand for? When Ehn organized the first
conference, the aggregation was still toying with a variety of names, but
the one that stuck was RAT. RAT suggested various acronyms -- perhaps Regional
Alternative Theatres, Raggedy-Assed Theatres and/or Rogues in American Typecasting
-- but it was the rat metaphor that became the rallying point.
Mary DeDanan wrote in American Theatre magazine, "Alternative
theatremakers across the nation easily identified with the image of the rat:
wily, indestructible, pestilent, squeezing through impossibly tight places,
sneaking into the Xerox room at the day job, using up all the toner, then
sneaking out. The rat doesnt seek to change or reform
the dominant structures and forms, but to infest them."
Ehns previous plays include "Wolf at the Door,"
"Maids," "Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling," "Gold
to Mud" and "The Saint Plays," as well as "Ideas of Good
and Evil," which was premiered at the UI in 1996.
Coleman currently leads a New York music-based performance
group called Hot Mouth. Carlos was one of the original performers in Ntozake
Shanges "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the
rainbow is enuf."
Tasic and Mitic voted in the Yugoslavian elections and
left the country just as chaos was erupting, making this a difficult time
for them to be separated from their families and colleagues. Several years
ago, Dah Teatar made a commitment to remain in Belgrade to build a new theatrical
and social future in a country that has lost many of its most educated people
to war and emigration.
Dah director Dijana Milosevic has written, "The members
of Dah Teatar are not members of any political party but with their work and
lives they have strongly opposed the war and violence and the official political
attitude of the ruling party. To stay, live and work in this country despite
the fact that thousands of young people of this generation have emigrated
presents a definite political attitude. That position can be formulated in
a few words: resistance to chaos, because Dah Teatar has chosen to stay and
welcome those who will one day return."
Other contributors to the production include set and lighting
designer Bryon Winn, costume designer Loyce Arthur, and composer/sound designer
Partnership in the Arts annually invites prominent theater
professionals to the UI, where they develop new works for the stage in collaboration
with UI theater students, faculty and staff.
Tickets for "When the Angels of Heaven Saw the Daughters
of Man" are $15 ($7 for UI students, senior citizens and youth, and are
available in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining
tickets for each performance will be available one hour before curtain time
at the Theatre Building box office.
Tickets are available at a 20-percent discount as part
of a 3-play or 5-play University Theatres Mainstage subscription package.
A brochure that details the entire season is available from the Hancher box
office, or from the Department of Theatre Arts, 319-335-2700.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays
and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance 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.
Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail
People with special needs for access, seating and
auxiliary services should dial
(319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared
to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating,
hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for
people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For UI arts information, visit this new address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. Learn more about the Department of Theatre Arts
and University Theatres at <http://www.uiowa.edu/~theatre>. To receive
UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.