CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 21, 2001
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Iowa Summer Rep Artistic Director Eric Forsythe may be
reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
"Zastrozzi" director Michael Sokoloff may be reached through the
Department of Theatre Arts, 319-335-2700. Ticket sales have been brisk, so
please call the box office for the latest ticket-availability information.)
Iowa Summer Rep 2001 opens final production, 'Zastrozzi: The Master of
Discipline,' July 5
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Summer Rep festival of comedies by Canadas
most popular English-language playwright, George F. Walker, will open its
third and final production, the swashbuckling "Zastrozzi: The Master
of Discipline," at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 5 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the
University of Iowa Theatre Building. Other performances will be at 8 p.m.
July , 6, 7, 13 and 14.
Michael Sokoloff, the director of "Zastrozzi," has worked on and
off Broadway in New York, in major regional theatres and in summer stock theatres
large and small, including a recent production of "Equus" for the
Riverside Theatre in Iowa City. He was the fight director for Steppenwolf
Theatres Tony Award-winning production of "The Grapes of Wrath,"
and his fight direction will also be on display in "Zastrozzi."
Since premiering in 1977 "Zastrozzi" has been given more than 100
productions, although it is a departure from the contemporary urban comedies
for which Walker is primarily known. Instead, it is what he has called a "medieval
"It dates back two decades to early in Walker's career when he was experimenting
with different genres," an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer explained.
"Zastrozzi, which Walker described as a kind of homage to
19th-century melodrama, has proved one of his most popular plays."
Filled with dialogue that is alternately sharp and goofy, this Italian fable
has been described as "an odd hybrid of melodrama, revenge tragedy and
grand opera with bodies all over the place at plays end, and a strange,
almost surreal, tone throughout." Walker constructed the script with
references from a variety of legends and theatrical scripts,
Zastrozzi -- self-proclaimed master criminal of the world -- is out to seek
revenge on his arch nemesis, the hapless impressionist painter, Verezzi, who
Zastrozzi believes killed his mother. Zastrozzi concocts a diabolical plot
to destroy Verezzi using Matilda, his sometimes mistress and the most acclaimed
seductress in Europe, as bait.
A NYTHEATER.com review concluded, "Zastrozzi is all about Heroes
and Villains, Grand Gestures and Great Loves. Above all its about our
common love -- and need -- for drama thats larger than life; for outsized
personalities treading boldly across life's glorious stage."
The production features set and costume design by Dan Nemteanu, lighting
design by Bryon Winn, and sound design by Ethan J. Bade.
Forsythe says of the entire UI summer festival: "George F. Walker is
not a household name in the United States, unlike many of the playwrights
weve worked with over the years. Hes as celebrated in Canada as
Neil Simon is here, and just as prolific. Hes simply a great playwright
Im proud to produce -- and, oh, so funny."
Walkers darkly comic stage plays have been translated into more than
a half-dozen languages, and he has also been the writer of popular Canadian
TV series and movies. Among his many honors in Canada are the Governor Generals
Awards for Drama twice, the Chalmers Canadian Play Award six times, and three
Outstanding Play Awards in the DORA Awards. Walker has been resident playwright
of the New York Shakespeare Festival, and his "Nothing Sacred" was
a Los Angeles Times "Play of the Year."
A Chicago Sun-Times review declared, "No other living playwright pushes
the boundaries of comedy as far, with often stunning results." And a
review in the Washington Post said Walker creates a world "where humor
and horror waltz drunkenly around in each others arms."
The production of "Zastrozzi" contains material of an adult nature.
Potential audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate
for them should contact the department of theatre arts at (319) 335-2700 for
For many seasons Iowa Summer Rep has pursued a unique focus in American summer
theater with its single-playwright festivals, but two seasons ago Iowa Summer
Rep also became an Actors Equity Company, elevating its status as a
professional theater company.
Tickets for "Zastrozzi" are $17 ($13 for senior citizens and $9
for UI students and audience members 17 and younger. Tickets may be purchased
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 also available at a substantial discount
as part of an Iowa Summer Rep subscription package. A package, which includes
tickets to all three Walker productions, are $40 ($31 for senior citizens,
and $22 for UI students and youth)
Iowa Summer Rep theatergoers may enhance their theatrical outing with a
choice of picnic dinners at the outdoor Comedy Cafe, overlooking the Iowa
River. Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 319-335-3105, and
orders are due before 5 p.m. one day in advance.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays. 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. 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
The department of theatre arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts
in the UI College of Liberal Arts. For UI arts information, visit <www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa>
on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.