CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 4, 2001
National theater masks conference at UI will include public performances
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three public performances -- including a festive outdoor
entertainment -- will be offered during "Masks," the National Conference
on Masks of the Theatre, hosted by the University of Iowa department of theatre
arts May 17-20.
Gateway Performance Productions of Atlanta will present "The Magic
Vessel," and the Joan Schirle DellArte Company from California
will perform "Second Skin: Stories of the Mask" at 8 p.m. Thursday,
May 17 in the David Thayer Theatre of the UI Theatre Building.
On Friday, May 18 Faustwork Mask Theater from Connecticut will present "The
Mask Man" and Karen Jamieson Dancers from British Columbia will perform
"Raven of the Railway" at 8 p.m. in the David Thayer Theatre.
Admission to the Thursday and Friday performances will be $8 ($5 for students)
at the door. Sales will begin one hour before curtain time.
Commedia dellarte players from around the world will collaborate for
a free performance of "The Troubles of Love," an hilarious comedy
for the whole family, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 in the City Park Amphitheater.
The carnival atmosphere of the outdoor event will be enhanced by giant puppets
and wandering minstrels. Food will be available for purchase on the grounds,
catered by New Pioneer Co-op of Iowa City and Coralville. The audience is
invited to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs.
In case of rain, the performance will be relocated to the David Thayer Theatre
of the Theatre Building.
"The Magic Vessel," choreographed and directed by Sandra Hughes,
artistic director of Gateway Performance Productions, is a celebration of
Irish heritage. Inspired by an ancient Irish agricultural myth, the production
tells of the struggle between two Celtic goddesses for sovereignty of the
land and how this power clash creates the cycle of the seasons. The production
was recently a featured performance at the Atlanta Celtic Festival 2000.
DellArte Company Artistic Director Joan Schirle created the solo "Second
Skin: Stories of the Mask," in which a vivid series of masked characters
trace a luminous, humorous passage through obsession, transformation and reincarnation.
Schirle uses masks from the United States, Bali and a dime store near you.
"The Mask Man" is a solo (with audience participation) about masks
that simultaneously entertains and educates. Since 1983, the show has been
performed more than 3,000 times in schools, festivals and theaters throughout
the United States and Canada. The set consists of an impressive wall of masks,
exhibited at the center of the stage. Robert Faust demonstrates their power
by removing the masks from the wall, one by one, and assuming the character
expressed in each face.
"Raven of the Railway" is a mask-dance installation, part of a
large on-going British Columbia project called Voices of the Roundhouse. The
piece is the culmination of a collaboration between choreographer Karen Jamieson,
Tsimpshian carver and storyteller Victor Reese and the Roundhouse Community
Centre. The collaboration between carver and choreographer, and between traditional
First Nations masking and contemporary dance, is the backbone of the project
that explores issues of darkness and light, consciousness and unconsciousness,
fragmentation and wholeness.
"The Troubles of Love" was created for the conference by UI department
of theatre arts faculty member Ralph Hall in collaboration with diverse mask
artists. Based on commedia dellarte scenarios, the piece brings together
many of the famous figures of this 16th- to 18th-century art form: Isabella
the temptress, Pantelone the old reprobate, Arlecchino the rascally servant,
Capitano the braggert, Columbine the cunning maid, Doctore the pedant, and
that perpetually warring couple, Punch and Judy. The UI PanAmerican Steel
Band and Musicks Feast will also be featured.
Sponsors of the conference events are the University of Iowa Arts and Humanities
Initiative, Humanities Iowa, the UI Division of Performing Arts and the UI
department of theatre arts.
Full conference registrations are still available through the UI Center
for Conferences and Institutes. Registration is $150. The fee for student
registrants without conference meals is $50; with meals the fee is $100. The
conference single day rate is $75.
Information, including registration forms and a full schedule, is available
on-line at <http://www.uiowa.edu/~theatre/masconf.htm>.
Or contact the UI Center for Conferences at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800)
Featured topics will cover mask making, mask training and mask performance.
All conference activities will be held in the UI Theatre Building.
Featured conference presenters will include Sears Eldredge, author of "Mask
Improvisation for Actor Training and Performance"; Victor Reese, Tsimpshian
mask carver from British Columbia; Ralph Lee, OBIE winner and creator of the
"Saturday Night Live" Land Shark; Bruce Marrs, motion specialist
for the film "Godzilla"; Judy Slattum, author of "Masks of
Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama"; and Torbjorn Alstrom, internationally
renowned mask maker from Sweden.
The UI organizers are faculty members Loyce L. Arthur, who has studied masking
traditions in West Africa; and Hall, who has an extensive background as a
director of mask theater.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored
events. If you require assistance in order to participate in this program,
please contact the Department of Theatre Arts at (319) 335-2700. 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>.